With the FIVB announcing that it will be Switzerland and Brazil who will share hosting duties of the Women’s and Men’s Club World Championships respectively over the next three years, things are clearly getting a bit of a shakeup.
Switzerland get their first ever role as hosts of the Club World Championships when they host the Women’s edition in October of 2013, while the Men’s edition will be heading to Brazil in the same month. Along with it being the first time that Switzerland getting the honour of hosting, it is the first time that FIVB have separated the two competitions across separate venues in the same year. But what are the pro’s and con’s of this decision by the International Volleyball Federation? Have they made the right choices for the good of the game? Or perhaps, have they missed the mark?
Obviously the decision to host the women’s Club World Championship in Switzerland deserves a bit of scrutiny, and it shall get it. There was only one factor about this happening in Switzerland, and that is because it is the backyard of the FIVB, and no other reason. Let’s face it, Switzerland isn’t exactly a hotbed of top class European Volleyball action and while Zurich will no doubt put on a fantastically lavish affair in a touch of hearty self promotion, the tournament would have been better served going elsewhere. This is a big deal, the top clubs from around the world coming together for some global supremacy. There are other European nations which will carry a far greater volleyball fan base than that of Switzerland, like Italy and Turkey for example. It is taking something away from the European game a little bit by taking this Championship to Switzerland, and it could have been an opportunity to reward one of the top European nations with a money earner.
The last three editions of the Women’s Club World Championships have been held in Doha, Qatar, so at least by moving to Europe it is on the right track. However, while the expansion of the game across Europe, from the perspective of it being a good thing to advertise the game in territories which aren’t recognised as major powers, has its benefits, this could have been handled better. Turkey would have been a good bet with Vakifbank Istanbul finishing runners up in the 2012 event to Sollys Nestle from Brazil, and having rivals Fenerbahce winning it in 2010. With Istanbul heading back to this year’s championship after winning the CEV Champions League, as well as Galatasaray finishing fourth, Turkey surely make a claim to treat the Turkish fans to such a big, prestigious tournament. Even Italy would have made a better destination for the 2013 Women’s Club World Championship with Yamamay Busto Arsizio going well in the CEV Champions League this season. Rabita Baku from Azerbaijan, the 2011 Club World Championship winners and third place finishers in this season’s Champions League could have been rewarded with the tournament expanding its European roots in Azerbaijan.
Brazilian Base for Men
In stark contrast to what the FIVB is doing for the women’s edition, they have got the men’s event just right. Everyone will be looking forward to the 2016 Olympics and this is a good chance to promote the best of the world’s clubs in South America. The host city for the 2013 Men’s has yet to be announced, but it doesn’t really matter which Brazilian city, the fact that it is in Brazil is a good thing, given the strength of the club scene in the South American country. The men’s Volleyball event will run from October 15th to the 20th and the FIVB are still waiting to decide on the actual format of the event as well. Brazil, compared to Switzerland is chalk and cheese in the world of volleyball. Brazil is such a well establish hotbed for the sport that the Men’s Club World Championship is not going to have any problem filling the seats, wherever it ends up being held.
Like the women’s event, Doha, Qatar has been the home of the championship for the last four years, and every occasion since its inception in 1989 it has been won by an Italian team. So it could well be argued that Italy should really have got a shot at hosting the Championship after Trentino Betclic has won everything in sight since 2009. The point here is that there should be some reward for the the team and the nation which they represent in terms of the outright winner of the World Club Championship. If an Italian side wins the event, let Italy host the championships. It should ignite a bit of fire in the rest of the continental champions to bring the championship to their own back yard.
But perhaps the biggest thing that the FIVB got wrong for this year, is the fact that if they were hell-bent on sending a championship to Brazil and another to Switzerland, why not turn it around? Here’s the reasoning. The great Brazilian women’s side Sollys Nestle are the reigning World Club Champions, so sending the women’s event there for this year would have made a lot of sense. The promotional hype surrounding the tournament in having Brazilian champions of the tournament would have invaluable to the FIVB and the growth of the event. The previous two occasions that the Women’s Club World Championship has been held in Brazil (Sao Paulo on both occasions), the home representatives won the event. Any host nation reaching the final of a tournament in any sport, always adds and extra excitement factor. So assuming that the women’s event went to Brazil, that would leave the Men’s World Club Championships to be hosted in Switzerland this year. Even that wouldn’t have been so bad, given the fact that, you know, it is right next door to Italy. Switching both of the 2013 events may have made a lot more sense than the way that the FIVB are looking to shake things up this year.