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27/06/2014 21:00
CEV President’s emotional address sets the tone for memorable Volleyball night
News from the CEV

Vienna, Austria, June 27, 2014. The much anticipated 2014 edition of the European Volleyball Gala got started on Friday night at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna with CEV President André Meyer addressing an emotional speech to the hundreds of guests in attendance. The Gala, co-hosted by the CEV and the Austrian Volleyball Federation, has turned into a tradition where Europe’s Volleyball family comes together to review the latest developments and successes as well as to share plans and expectations for the future, with a focus on the world’s and Europe’s elite club competition, the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League.

Click here for a picture gallery of the 2014 European Volleyball Gala

Mr. Meyer was elated with the opportunity provided by the Austrian Volleyball Federation and the Ministry of Sports and Defence to host Europe’s Volleyball family at the former imperial residence of the Habsburg dynasty, the Hofburg Palace: “Since 18 years already we are coming together here, at the very heart of Europe, for a major celebration of our sport and of its star players. However, this time we have the opportunity to host you here at the Hofburg, one of the most prestigious stages of Austria’s capital city and in Europe as well. As you may know, the Hofburg Palace housed some of the most powerful people in Austrian and also European history. Tonight, this former imperial residence has opened its doors to all of you and to some of the major stars that our sport can boast. I have to thank from the very deep of my heart the Federal Ministry of Sports and Defence as well as the Austrian Volleyball Federation for they played a major role in making sure our Volleyball family would be allowed to use this unique and wonderful stage for our annual Gala.”

Though proud of the latest successes claimed by European Volleyball, the CEV President also insisted on the necessity to keep up the good work in order to accelerate that process whereby Volleyball shall turn into one of the most popular sports out there and into a positive role model to look at for our society: “There is a lesson that we can take from this palace and its history: we can be proud of our past achievements, but we still want to keep ourselves in the world’s spotlight. This way we can maintain our identity, and be loyal to our founding fathers, but, at the same time, also will not stop exploring new ways whereby we can raise the popularity of our sport to the next level.”

“Our society needs, more than ever before, our contribution in the promotion of positive values such as team work, friendship, mutual respect, and fair play. If we spark a real Volleyball fever across Europe, thousands of young people will be mesmerized by our sport and also share its core values, which are beneficial to our community as a whole. The “Fair Play Volleyball Way” campaign we launched last year here in Vienna has proven a valuable asset in our efforts to promote one of the main features that our sport stands out for. The campaign has turned into a terrific success being extensively featured in all of our competitions, and with players sharing their commitment to this cause by embodying the true spirit of fair play in their actions and in their demeanour on and off the Volleyball court.”

The Gala is not only a celebration of Volleyball and of its stars, it also marks the start of another season in the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League, with 48 teams – by combining men and women – set to join the “class of 2015”: “The 2015 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League will get started in early November and I can already sense the enthusiasm and high expectations surrounding the campaign of each of the participating teams. Once again, 28 teams will join the men’s competition and all of Europe’s leading Volleyball powers are set to fight from the start to the end for the crown that will be at stake in late March and early April 2015. The women’s division will feature this year 20 teams and for the first time since its inception, the Champions League will be stopping in Finland. LP SALO is indeed the very first team from any Northern European country to compete in the Champions League, thereby showing that elite Volleyball does not stop expanding its horizons to every part of our Continent.”

The CEV President deserved some words of appreciation also to DenizBank, which will be sponsoring the CEV Volleyball Champions League for another two years after a three-year partnership was signed shortly before the start of the 2014 season: “Tonight we celebrate another successful edition of our flagship competition, the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. And shortly before matches got underway last October, we announced our partnership with DenizBank. It does not come as a surprise that we have found such high-profile partner in a country where Volleyball has experienced a terrific development over the past few years. Turkey has become one of the major forces to be reckoned with on the global Volleyball arena and their teams always set the highest goals. DenizBank has understood the marketing value of the CEV Volleyball Champions League but also accepted to share its core message and identity, which can be summed up in our continuous strive for excellence, on and off the Volleyball court.”

In his address Mr. Meyer shared some of the record-breaking figures that highlighted a memorable 2014 season which came to an end in March with Russia’s Dinamo KAZAN and Belogorie BELGOROD seizing the crown in the women’s and men’s competition respectively. “About 400,000 Volleyball fans flocked to the various sports halls where our competition stopped last year, and a cumulative TV audience of 59 million viewers was registered as the Champions League actions were broadcast by 58 channels all over the world. Knowing the importance and value of their contribution in strengthening the positioning of our flagship competition and in delivering these outstanding results, we are paying back the hard work of our clubs by allocating prize money that at the end of the last season stood at € 1.9 million, yet another all-time record.”

The Drawing of Lots following later tonight will set the tone for another exciting campaign, but the CEV President did first want to draw the attention of the audience on a more high-profile mission that the CEV shares with all sponsors and partners, with the National Federations and their clubs, as well as with all other members of the Volleyball family: “They say that the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of fulfilment. It is really with this spirit that tonight we are here to celebrate our sport, its stars of today and of tomorrow, and also the commitment that hundreds of people across Europe are showing to its cause. The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.” Everyone who is here tonight is willing to take up this responsibility: we owe this to our sport and to our offspring.”

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