POSTED: September 1st 2014

Spectacular record crowd for Men's Volleyball Championship as FIVB opens a new chapter

The stadium was packed with 62,000 cheering fans decked out in red and white / SFC
The stadium was packed with 62,000 cheering fans decked out in red and white / SFC

Poland showed their mettle with passion and sportsmanship / SFC
Poland showed their mettle with passion and sportsmanship / SFC

LAURA WALDEN in WARSAW / Sports Features Communications 

(SFC) The 18th edition of the FIVB Men’s World Championship volleyball tournament opened in Warsaw Saturday to a record number of 62,000 passionate fans cheering home team Poland to victory over Serbia. 

Stadion Narodowy was a screaming wave of red and white as Poland pulled out all the stops staging an unparalleled sports fest truly showcasing their ability to host elite world level sports events.

Such an attendance at a volleyball match in a major football stadium was counted at a friendly between USSR-Brazil in the famed and now Olympic venue Maracanã back in 1983 before a huge crowd of 95,000 fans. The championship’s last highest attendance was 50,000 fans at the 1952 World Championships.

Polish President Bronislaw Kmorowski and FIVB head, Dr. Ary Graça, lead the colorful opening ceremony which included Poland’s Eurovision song contest entrant Donatan Cleo and numerous national entertainers.

“Today has been an immense celebration of volleyball with the Men’s World Championship Opening Ceremony - an FIVB signature event which truly reflected our vision for the future of our sport,” said President Graça.

“Tonight’s celebrations in the National Stadium in Warsaw have set the new benchmark for volleyball events. We have entered a new era of sport entertainment and innovation never reached before.

“Poland, as a host nation, and the Polish Volleyball Federation have been the greatest partners for the FIVB during all the preparations. We have felt the true passion for volleyball which exists in this country- volleyland.

“Everyone present tonight felt the festive atmosphere as they joined in with a rousing rendition of "Start a Fire", the official song of the Men’s World Championship. Fans in the stadium really made the most of all activities available on site and their engagement and enthusiasm has helped to create a memorable ambiance.

“Tonight has given the world a taste of what volleyball and beach volleyball will be at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

Poland Federation President Miroslav Przedpelski “thanked the world for coming to Warsaw” and anticipates an exciting tournament the country is hosting the World Championship for the first time, 40 years after winning their only World Championship title back in 1974.

The home team beat Serbia 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-18) before a banner waving crowd showing the world why they call their country “Volleyland” and are reputed to be the most passionate fans in the volleyball circuit. All the Polish team matches during the tournament are sold out as they are among the favorites including Russia, Brazil, Italy, USA, and Serbia.

The Men’s Volleyball Championship is only held every four years and this edition includes 24 teams participating out of 148 which were taking part in the qualification process. The matches will be taking place in Wrocław, Katowice, Gdańsk, Kraków, Łódź and Bydgoszcz with the finals being held in Katowice on September 21.

Keywords · FIVB · Volleyball · Ary Graca · Bronislaw Kmorowski

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

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