FIVB cancels 2020 Volleyball Nations League

LAUSANNE: The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Friday announced the cancellation of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2020 due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic and its impact on host cities being able to deliver safe, accessible and high-quality competitions.

The VNL 2020 was scheduled to begin on 19 May for the women’s competition and 22 May for the men’s event. The FIVB announced the postponement of the event in March 2020, in order to protect the health of players and all involved, and hoped to find a date later in the year. 

However, given the evolving nature of the pandemic, the complexity of staging the global event, across multiple host countries, and the commitment to safeguarding participants’ health, the VNL Council, the FIVB Board of Administration and the event organisers, jointly agreed to cancel this year’s edition of the VNL. The FIVB is continuing to work closely with all parties to coordinate the schedule for the VNL 2021 while retaining both Italy and China as the host nations for the Finals. 

FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° said: “Together with our partners, we had explored all the various options to host the VNL 2020. Part of what makes the VNL so special is that it is a truly global event enjoyed by players and specially by fans from  all around the world. But this strength also increases its risk during this current global pandemic. It would therefore be imprudent, maybe even irresponsible for us to go ahead with the event when we cannot provide players and all stakeholders with the certainty that the VNL 2020 would be safe, accessible to all and held at a high level.

“Instead, our attention now turns to VNL 2021 and making sure it is our best ever edition. I know that our incredible athletes will be unrelenting in their efforts to prepare for the competition, and I have no doubt that next year will prove to be a very exciting year for volleyball.”

In addition, both the men’s and women’s editions of the 2020 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup, originally scheduled to be hosted in Gondomar, Portugal and Zadar, Croatia between 24-28 June respectively, will not be held this year. Teams that qualified for the VNL 2020 in the 2019 edition of the Challenger Cup, the Slovenia national men’s volleyball team and Canada national women’s volleyball team, will retain their places for the VNL 2021.

Last year’s edition of the VNL featured 16 of the world’s best teams in each gender competing for the coveted VNL Champions title. Russia took first place in the men’s finals in Chicago, United States and the USA took the top spot in the women’s in front of huge crowds in Nanjing, China. The event also saw more digital fan engagement than ever before, with the attraction of over 550,000 new social media followers and an incredible 3.8 billion social media impressions over the course of the competition. The VNL 2021 will look to top these figures by captivating volleyball fans across the globe once again.