One cannot say that the FIVB is not an innovative sports federation, after all, the VNL in itself is a big change from the late Grand Prix and World League models. However, the institution took change even farther, as it replaced the traditional press conference with a presentation on beach volleyball courts to welcome the Final 6 teams to Lille, France.
In what was an unusual choice for parading the world’s best indoor volleyball teams, under 90 degrees of sunbathing weather, FIVB’s President Ary Graça officially opened the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League Finals with this to say (FIVB.com):
“Lille is a very colorful and dynamic city, and I am very happy to be here today to celebrate volleyball and our great athletes. In over 120 matches over the past five weeks, our athletes have shown incredible athletic performances and produced amazing results. I would like to congratulate the great teams who have qualified for the VNL Finals: France, Russia, the USA, Serbia, Brazil and Poland. I have no doubt you will continue to impress your fans and light up the Stade Pierre-Mauroy tomorrow.”
Needless to say, players and coaches frowned at the event, leaving early before all speeches from FIVB’s top brass were over.