Lausanne, Switzerland, March 9, 2017 – Brazilian volleyball legend and FIVB Athletes’ Commission President Gilberto ‘Giba’ Amauri de Godoy Filho is eagerly awaiting the latest volleyball spectacular to take place in his home country of Brazil.
Earlier this week the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba was announced as the venue for the FIVB Volleyball 2017 World League Final. It is a 43,000-capacity stadium which hosted matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and is based in his home state of Parana.
Giba was on hand to take a first-hand look at the venue, along with Brazil Volleyball Federation President Walter Pitombo Laranjeiras and he liked what he saw.
“I started playing volleyball here in this city and I’m going to do everything to ensure I am at this event,” said Giba, who won gold at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, three FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championships and eight FIVB Volleyball World League titles.
“Volleyball is a family sport and it makes our volleyball family stronger. Here everyone unites around the volleyball community and events such as this will greatly help the volleyball community.”
The Arena da Baixada also hosted the Brazil men’s Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games celebration match in September, when they marked their Olympic gold with a match against Portugal.
It is home to football team Clube Atletico Paranaense and it will be the sixth time that the World League Finals have been held in Brazil following tournaments in Sao Palo (1993), Rio de Janeiro (1995, 2008, 2015) and Belo Horizonte (2002).
There will be seating for 3,148 on temporary stands built on the pitch and 22,716 places in the upper tiers of the stadium seating. It means there will be a capacity of 30,027 for the World League Finals with the assembly of the court scheduled to take place from June 24 to July 3.
It will be the second time that a major FIVB tournament has been hosted in a football stadium. The first was the hugely successful staging of the Poland 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship’s opening match in front of 63,000 fans at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
It will be the latest volleyball spectacular in Brazil following the success of Rio 2016 when the host nation won the men’s Olympic gold for the first time since Giba and his teammates topped the podium at Athens 2004.
The World League, the FIVB’s annual men’s tournament, has a history of being held in unique locations. Italy hosted World League matches at the Foro Italico in Rome with 11,000 fans packing the tennis centre’s centre court when the Azzurri played Poland in 2014 and Brazil in 2015.
Announced at the Sports Events Council which met in Lausanne in February, the Group 1 Finals will take place from July 4 to 8 and will comprise the top six teams from the tournament including hosts Brazil. The Finals will be the culmination of six weeks of competition among 36 teams under the new format of the World League.
The year’s World League will adopt the same format as in 2016, when a record 36 teams participated in the competition. The 36 teams have been split into three groups of 12 teams and will play the Preliminary Round in a pool format over three weeks, before the best teams gather for the Finals in each group.
Brazil and Italy are the only two countries to have participated in all 27 previous editions of the FIVB Word League.
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 and 32 in 2015 before reaching the new high of 36 for 2016 and 2017.