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Spotlight on Volleyball

Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the highest recognised authority for all forms of volleyball. Their headquarters are based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The organisation was founded in April 1947 in France with Frenchman Paul Libaud as the first president. Leading up to that, volleyball formed part of the International Amateur Handball Federation and it was during the 1940s that various European national federations felt the need for the sport to be governed by its own international federation. The Constitutive Congress was installed with fourteen national federations from five continents attending the meetings and ratifying the formation of FIVB. One of the main purposes of the formation of the federation was that volleyball has its own flagship world event. This was achieved with the first World Championship in 1949. Three years later a women’s version of the tournament was also introduced.   

In 1964 FIVB achieved what every sport sets out to do. The International Olympic Committee, having already recognised the sport, incorporated it into the Olympic program and it has remained part of the Summer Olympic Games ever since. By this time there were 89 national federation members and five years later, FIVB introduced a World Cup, a new international event. By 1995 Asia received their first championship tournament, which was held in Tokyo. The hosts were beaten by India in the final. These events all added testimony to the tremendous growth the sport has achieved worldwide in a very short space of time.   

To analyze the sport further, two volleyball teams on a court consist of six players separated by a net in the middle. The aim is to ground the ball in the opposing team’s court all within the rules set out by FIVB. A player starts a rally standing behind the back boundary of the court and hitting the ball with the hand of arm to the opposite end of the court. The opposing team must avoid the ball being grounded within their court. A team may touch the ball three times, but an individual player may not touch it more than once. The opponents must return the ball over the net to the serving team by the third touch. The rally continues until the ball either lands outside the court (as a fault) or lands within the boundary lines of the court. This either leads to a point for the serving team or a chance for the receiving team to become the serving team.   

The sport of volleyball has grown a considerable level since the very humble beginnings in the winter of 1895 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. William G. Morgan invented a game called Mintonette as something to play during the winter season. It was intended to be an indoor sport and less rough than basketball. It was derived from badminton, tennis and handball. Since then, the sport has also evolved into beach volleyball and snow volleyball. The former has a professional world tour, while the latter has a much smaller circuit mainly in the European winter season. 

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