Week 50 (30 August – 5 September 2014)
In the context of a career, there are a finite number of times that a sports executive can make a landmark statement about the game they govern. So when a gilt-edged opportunity does come along, it must be grasped with both hands.
In the past week, sport’s wheel of opportunity presented FIVB President Dr Ary S Graça F° with the perfect stage to deliver a landmark speech about volleyball.
The setting was the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw during the Opening Ceremony of the FIVB Men’s World Championship Poland 2014. A sell-out crowd of 70,000 were present and witnessed both Poland’s 3-0 defeat of Serbia in the championship’s opening game and Graça’s grand declaration that this was a “new era” for volleyball.
Such a claim cannot be made lightly but Graça was on a roll, outlining a bold new entertainment-driven world for volleyball.
He went on to say: "For sure, volleyball today is completely different. Our new mentality is to give to the public real entertainment. The match itself is an entertainment, but it's not enough.
"This new concept that the FIVB is using now is a big change.
"I could say, I dare to say, that the FIVB is going to be another FIVB after this World Championship.”
Graça’s speech represents a line in the sand for the FIVB and volleyball, behind which they cannot retreat.
But the incredible show put on in Poland at the Opening Ceremony coupled with Graça’s bold words is likely to stir up a new wave of sport stakeholders interested in backing volleyball.
It could well be a glorious new era for the sport.