Bigger than ever: FIVB Volleyball World League expands for 26th edition
The records continue as the FIVB Volleyball World League enters its 26th edition which is set to be the biggest ever in the history of the tournament.
Thirty two teams – including defending champions USA and newly-crowned world champions Poland – will contest the title at the most prestigious annual tournament in the world of men’s volleyball. With four more teams than last year, the FIVB World League, which has thrilled hundreds of millions of fans around the world since its debut in 1990, continues its spectacular growth. The year’s tournament will run for 10 weeks, giving fans the added treat of an extra week of world class volleyball action.
The Intercontinental Round will begin on May 16 and will culminate in the World League Finals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the winner will be crowned on July 19.
Two strong nations make their debut in the FIVB World League in the shape of 2014 Euro League winners Montenegro and Kazakhstan, who finished third in the 2014 AVC Cup. They bring the total number of countries to have played in the World League to 33.
Returning after a long break are 2014 Euro League runners-up Greece (who last appeared in 2005), African Nations champions Egypt (2010) and Venezuela (2009). Only Brazil and Italy have played in all 25 previous editions of the World League.
All the former winners are also back in action again: Brazil (nine titles), Italy (eight), Russia (three), defending champions USA (two), world champions Poland, Cuba and the Netherlands (one title each).
The tournament began with just eight countries, who took part in the inaugural competition in 1990. In 1991 the number of teams had risen to 10, while 12 nations competed from 1992-2000 and 2004-05. The field featured 16 teams from 2001-2003 and 2006-2012. 2013 saw 18 different countries compete, with that increasing to 28 in 2014 with the new record of 32 in this year.