World-class volleyball action rolls to Manila late this year after the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) formally sanctioned the Philippines’ hosting of the FIVB World Women’s Club Championship.
FIVB executive committee member Stav Jacobi signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Philippine Superliga (PSL) president Ramon Suzara to formalize the country’s hosting of the prestigious meet set on October 18 to 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Set to compete are South American champion Rexona Ades Rio de Janeiro of Brazil, Asian heavyweight Bangkok Glass of Thailand, Pomi Casalmaggiore of Italy, the Philippines and two wildcard entries.
The Philippines will be represented by six PSL stars and six foreign players reportedly from volleyball powerhouse countries like Russia, United States and Brazil and Turkey.
It will be the first time for the Philippines to host a world volleyball meet after opening its doors to the FIVB World Grand Prix in 2000 when Cuba won the crown and Brazilian star Leila Barros swept Filipino fans off their feet.
This will also the first time the Philippines is hosting a world championship of an Olympic event in decades.
“This is the biggest club competition in the world, and we’re bringing in the best club teams to compete with each other,” said Jacobi.
Jacobi said the best club leagues from South America, Europe and Asia will be competing.
The host country represented by the PSL, Jacobi said, will also be competing for the very first time.
This will also be the first time that eight teams will be fielded from six the previous editions. The other four slots will be for wild cards, which will be assessed by the organizing committee.
Suzara said the hosting comes at a perfect time since volleyball in the country is experiencing a rebirth with the massive success of the PSL and the recently-concluded University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Bratschi is a former volleyball player, himself.
“Philippine volleyball is experiencing a renaissance,” said Suzara, who is also chairman of the marketing and development committee of the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) and a member of the FIVB.
“But our athletes are experiencing international level competitions only lately. The 2016 FIVB World Women’s Club Championship will be one, if not the biggest, of the major international tournaments we will be hosting.”
Suzara said FIVB president Dr. Ary Graca is looking forward to a very successful event following the success of Zurich in hosting last year’s event.
“The FIVB has been very supportive to our endeavors to make the Philippines a strong sporting country once again. With Eventcourt as our partner, we will be assured of a well-managed event,” Suzara said.