Lausanne, 17 December 2008 – The FIVB released today the official 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar. The Beach Volleyball world season will start in Adelaide in March and will be closed by the city of Sanya, in China, with a double gender Open in November. For the first time ever, the FIVB has scheduled a record number of Grand Slams, the top Women’s and Men’s tournament which sets its prize money and bonus pool to 600,000 US dollars each. 6 different countries (Austria, France, Germany, Norway, Russia and Switzerland) will host the FIVB Beach Volleyball main events. Open and Grand Slam have been assigned to 24 cities overall, covering North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. After a long bidding process, many venues are new entries in the Beach Volleyball season: cities like Osaka, Adelaide, Prague, Barcelona, Dubai and Sanya will host for the first time the Beach Volleyball world stars.
Stressing the success of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour, the total prize money combined with the bonus pools reaches for 2008 the amazing amount of 8,500,000 US dollars. This quantity will be split exactly in two parts: the same amount for Men and Women, giving an equal opportunity to each gender. Men and Women will also have the same number of tournaments (20) in their season schedule.
The first tournaments of the year will all be part of the Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualification process, which already covers all the 2007 season. The players will have at least 12 other tournaments (13 for Men) to choose the 8 best results which can guarantee the ticket to Beijing. The last tournament to assign Olympic points to the players will be played in Marseille from 14 to 20 July 2008. Then on Saturday 26 July, in Gstaad, the official Olympic drawing of lots will be staged to determine the Pools composition and the first days of the match-up of the Beach Volleyball tournaments in Beijing. The provisional Olympic Ranking is published on the FIVB website, Beach Volleyball page.
At this stage the FIVB is working diligently with its organizers in Canada and UAE to confirm the double genders events tentatively scheduled respectively on 8-13 July and 5-11 October 2008. The city of Mallorca through a promoter has shown a strong interest to stage a Men’s Open in September but this event needs to be confirmed in the forthcoming days. The 2008 event in Finland has been postponed to 2009 due to the difficulties in scheduling it in August.
Two other great appointments of the 2008 season will be with the future generations of the sport. For the very first time, Great Britain and the Netherlands will host a major FIVB Beach Volleyball event. The city of Brighton is going to host the eighth edition of the SWATCH-FIVB Junior (Under 21) World Championships on 3-7 September 2008, while The Hague will welcome the seventh edition of the SWATCH-FIVB Youth (Under 19) World Championships from July 30 to August 3, 2008.
The assignment of the 2009 World Championships will probably be announced next January, due to the in-depth verification of the bidding documentation.
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