Sofia, Bulgaria, November 7, 2017 – The FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Italy-Bulgaria 2018 was presented to members of the Bulgarian press on Tuesday in the presence of FIVB 2nd Executive Vice-President and CEV President Aleksandar Boricic, Bulgaria Volleyball Federation President Dancho Lazarov and Italian Volleyball Federation President Pietro Bruno Cattaneo. The three Bulgarian cities which will host World Championship matches next year were represented by the mayors of Sofia and Ruse, respectively Iordanka Fandukova and Plamen Stoilov, and by the deputy mayor of Varna, Kosta Bazitov.
Co-organised by Italy and Bulgaria, the 2018 edition of the FIVB’s flagship event will take place from September 10 to 30. Sofia, Varna and Ruse will host the matches in Bulgaria while the competition will be split across six cities in Italy, including Bari, Bologna, Florence, Milan, Rome and Turin.
“We wanted to present something new in the world of volleyball by hosting the 19th FIVB World Championship in two different countries,” said FIVB Vice-President Boricic. “Bulgaria and Italy proved that they can work brilliantly together with the organizing of the European Championship in 2015. It was normal to give them this great opportunity to host the World Championship. I’m confident that they will be great hosts again and I think that this will not be the last time two countries co-organise such a great event.”
“There are a lot of factors which gave us the opportunity to host the World Championship in 2018,” said Bulgarian Volleyball Federation Lazarov. “The biggest one is our great national volleyball team and the amazing fans in Bulgaria who support our team in every single game. Over the last few years our government has also invested a lot of money to grow our infrastructure and this is another reason why we won the bid to host the event. Bulgaria can now be happy because we have great sports halls. I want to say a big thank you to the Bulgarian government and to Prime Minister Boiko Borisov. Thank you for the help and support.”
“For us it is a real pleasure to be co-hosts with Bulgaria again after 2015,” said Italian Volleyball Federation President Cattaneo. “We are working really well together and I’m sure that we will prove this again in 2018. Our flags have the same colours – white, red and green, just another reason why we are such good partners! For Italy it will be a second World Championship in just eight years. It is a great honour and a chance for the people of Italy to prove that they love volleyball. Now we are looking forward to the drawing of lots ceremony on November 30 in Florence to see which teams will be our opponents.”
“For Sofia it is a real honour to co-host this big, big sports event,” said Mayor of Sofia Fandukova. “In 2018 our city will be the European capital of sport and the World Championship is another perfect opportunity for Sofia to shine. It’s a big chance for our volleyball fans, for our country and our national team. All of us know the effect of the European Championship in Bulgaria in 2015. Thousands of children started to play volleyball and interest for the sport increased immediately. Now I think the social effect will be even bigger.”
Ruse Mayor Stoilov said: “This is a great opportunity for our city. Ruse is one of the biggest and most beautiful cities in Bulgaria. I’m sure that we will have a great competition and Ruse will shine and be a brilliant host.”
Varna Deputy Mayor Kosta Bazitov added: “We are ready to host the biggest competition in the world of volleyball. We have the traditions and the history behind us. We are confident that the organization will be of the highest level. Over the years, the Bulgarian national team has played really well in Varna and I think that with the support of the great public in the Palace of Culture and Sport, the team will take a first step towards a great performance.”
Twenty-four teams will participate in the 2018 Men’s World Championship including hosts Italy and Bulgaria and reigning world champions Poland. They will be joined by a further seven teams from Europe including 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League champions France, two teams from South America including Olympic champions Brazil, five teams from the North, Central American and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA), four from Asia and three from Africa. The qualification process for next year’s event will be completed at the NORCECA Group B qualification tournament in Havana, Cuba from November 10-12.
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