May 14th, 2018 marked a historic date in women’s volleyball in Euorope. That was the date of the first meeting and formation of the Association of European Clubs. The teams signed the Milan Charter, which outlines the objectives of the association in a continental union to advance the sport at a professional level in Europe.
- Imoco Volley Conegliano – Italy
- Agil Volley Novara – Italy
- Savino Del Bene Volley Scandicci – Italy
- UYBA Volley Busto Arsizio – Italy
- Saugella Team Monza – Italy
- Volley Pesaro – Azzurra Volley Il Bisonte Florence – Italy
- VBC Pomi Casalmaggiore – Italy
- Volley Bergamo – Italy
- VakifBank Istanbul – Turkey
- Galatasaray Istanbul – Turkey
- Fenerbahce Isanbul – Turkey
- Volero Zurich – Switzerland
- Dinamo Moscow – Russia
- Maritza Plovdiv – Bulgaria
The charter outlined a number of objectives, which will have to be negotiated with the CEV – the governing body for volleyball in Europe.
Goals of the organization:
- To open up the transfer period, no longer limiting it to the period between October 15th and May 15th
- Rethinking and reformatting the qualification for and participation in the European Cups, especially the Champions League (which, to some degree, has already happened), though the new European Clubs Association has not commented on whether the changes were satisfactory to their desire).
- A review of the economic returns and visibility of the European cups, including the Champions League.
- To quickly gain power on par with that of FIVB and CEV, for purposes of having greater influence upon their decision-making with regard to topics that influence professional leagues.
The association comes at a time where clubs around the world are fighting for more control and influence in the sport. That includes several Italian men’s clubs last year that threatened to, or actually did, withdraw from, European Cups. This follows on the heels of similar weight-throwing by top European football clubs, who have in recent years threatened to withdraw from several European cups in order to form their own association if rules weren’t changed to benefit them.
So far, at least the Italian league has supported the moves of its members. Another meeting was being planned, originally expected for June, but no new news has been released by the organization yet.