Groupings for men’s volleyball World League announced

Canada’s group includes powerhouses Brazil and Poland

OTTAWA- Canada will be in group B with world number-one Brazil, Poland and Finland as the groupings for the 16-country World League men’s volleyball tournament were announced today by the FIVB (Volleyball’s International Federation).

The World League will be part of an important and busy 2012 season for the Canadian squad, ranked 19th in the world, which is also looking to land a spot in the Olympic Games. This is Canada’s first appearance in World League play since 2007.

‘’ We are very happy to get back into the World League,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag of Gatineau, Que.  ‘’At this point of the development of our program, we need to play great teams such as Brazil, Poland and Finland.  Our staff and players will benefit from this learning experience. We will compete hard for every point and improve with every match.’’

Canada qualified for the World League this past summer with impressive qualifying round series victories over Slovakia and Puerto Rico.

Both Poland, ranked fourth internationally, and Brazil are among the three nations currently qualified for the 2012 London Olympics after recently finishing second and third respectively at the 2011 World Cup in Japan. Finland is currently ranked 27th.

Other pool groupings include the following:

Pool A: Russia, Cuba, Serbia, Japan

Pool C: Italy, USA, France, Korea

Pool D: Argentina, Bulgaria, Germany, Portugal

The 2012 World League will have a different format from past editions due to the busy international calendar early next summer that also includes several qualification tournaments for the London Olympics. The format will involve each country only hosting one weekend tournament involving the four countries in its pool, over a three-day period, instead of hosting three separate weekend series on home soil as in the past. 

The 'intercontinental round' will run between May 18 and July 1 with each team still playing a total of 12 matches over the four weekend events. The final six play-off is scheduled for Sofia, Bulgaria from July 4-8.

The final dates and competition calendar for the 'intercontinental round', including the hosting dates and location for Canada's hosted event, will be announced in the early new year.

The prestigious FIVB Volleyball World League, entering its 23rd year, is a 16-country intercontinental tournament that takes place every summer, reaching all corners of the planet, offering worldwide TV coverage and the biggest cash prizes in the sport.

The last time Canada competed in the World League was in 2007 when it placed 13th.