2018 FIVB Women’s World Championships to be Longest Ever (22 Days!)

  0 Jeremy Brahm | September 09th, 2017 | International Volleyball, News

When the FIVB expanded the Women’s World Championship in 2002 from 16 to 24 teams, the tournament took 17 days from start to finish. After the first round of play (5 matches), there would be a two day break before the second round of matches would start. There would again be a two day break before the third round or playoffs (quarterfinals, semifinals or positioning semifinals) would begin.

In 2006, it also took 17 days to play the tournament. 2010 followed the same formula.

With the 2014 tournament, the FIVB decided to have six teams split into two groups for the third round before advancing to the semifinals. By adding three days of group matches, before the semifinals and finals, it extended the tournament to 20 days from start to finish.

As I was looking to plan a trip to the World Championships, I wanted to try an create a potential calendar for myself in order to determine when I would want to attend. After looking at the FIVB website for the 2018 World Championships and using Wikipedia for the 2002-2014 editions with 24 teams, I found something that was different from the previous tournaments.

The 2018 tournament after the second round still had nine days to complete before the two day break before the third round! The 2018 tournament would take 22 days from start to finish. An article from 2016 by the FIVB, said that they wanted a maximum of 21 days.

Using the the following formula to create the schedule

  • First Round, 5 matches with 1 day break in the middle
  • 2 day break before Second Round
  • Second Round, 4 matches with 1 day break in the middle
  • 2 day break before Third Round
  • Third Round, 2 or 3 matches (depending on 6 or 8 teams in Third Round)
  • 2 day break before Semifinals
  • Final and 3rd place are the following day

Here is the expected schedule for the 2018 Women’s World Championship:

Calendar by Jeremy Brahm for Volleymob

If the FIVB article is correct, then the tournament would start on September 30th  and there would only be 1 day between the 3rd round and the semifinals.

The biggest question to ask the FIVB right now is, “Will 6 or 8 teams make the Third Round?” In 2014, Japan and Serbia each finished 4th in their respective pools in the second round. However, they were eliminated as only the top 3 teams advanced to the 3rd Round. With Japan hosting, I would expect that the Japanese broadcasters of the tournament want the Japanese women to advance as far as possible to ensure high television ratings. I would not be surprised if 8 teams advance because either way 3 days would be needed to play 2 or 3 matches. However, in the FIVB article it stated that the winning team should play 11-13 matches. A 13 match team would be mean that only 6 teams make the 3rd round. If 8 teams made the final round, it would be 14 matches if it was pool play, 12 if starting with a quarterfinal.

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