Press Release - 02 Feb 1999



Wednesday, 3 February 1999

FIVB Volleyball World League 99:
New rules for the 10th edition

Lausanne, 3 February 1999 - The elites of International Volleyball are getting ready for the annual rendezvous of the World League which will celebrate this year its tenth edition. The program of the famous 8 million US$ professional competition for men's team has just been released by the FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball), creator and promoter of the event (see enclosed). The preliminary phase will start on May 28th and the Final is scheduled for July 17th in Argentina, with a total of 82 matches.

On the starting line, 12 top teams willing to struggle in the preliminary round to clinch their qualification to the Final-Six in Mar del Plata. The participating nations are divided in three pools of four teams for a double header home-and-away round robin:

Pool A: Italy, Russia, Poland and Australia
Pool B: Brazil, Netherlands, Spain and Canada
Pool C: Cuba, Yugoslavia, Argentina and France

The World League 1999 will be the first important international event to be played with the new scoring system and game format introduced in the rules by the delegates of the last Volleyball World Congress, last November in Tokyo.

In the new "Rally Point" scoring system each rally wins a point whether it is for the serving or for the receiving team, like a tie-break (whereas, with the previous "side-out system", only the serving team can score points). The matches will be at best of 5 sets, to 25 points for the first 4 sets and 15 points for the 5th, with 2 points lead in each (no limit).

The main actors of last November World Championships will be there to vie for the title. Italy, brilliant World Champion and six times World League winner, is the principal favorite together with Cuba, defending World League Champion and World bronze medallist in Tokyo. Yugoslavia, World Vice-Champion could take the opportunity to challenge Italy for an expected revenge, whereas Russia, last year World League runner-up, and Brazil, winner in 1993, should be present in the final round. The Netherlands owe their fans a good performance after the disappointing 6th place in the World Tournament and should also be mentioned among the favorites.

This year will be the comeback of France (participated in '90, '91, '92) and Canada ('91, '92) while Australia willing to get international high-level experience to prepare at best the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games will make their debut in this competition.

The two best teams of each pool will qualify for the Final-Six in Mar del Plata July 12 - 17 (Argentina automatically qualified as host nation could eventually replace the lowest-ranked second).

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