Poland and Slovenia have been praised for stepping in to host the Men's Volleyball World Championship ©Getty Images

International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) President Ary Graça has expressed full confidence in Poland and Slovenia's ability to be successful co-hosts of the Men's Volleyball World Championship that began on Friday (August 26).

The World Championship was was originally due to be held in Russia but was switched in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, with the decision, announced on March 1, being precipitated by the Dutch Volleyball Federation, which threatened to boycott the event if Russia remained host.

It also came with Russia having already been stripped of the right to stage Volleyball Nations League matches days earlier.

"I would be lying if I said it has been easy to relocate a large-scale event like the World Championship with a timeline of only a few months," Graça told insidethegames.

"However, relocating the event from Russia was a necessary decision due to the war in Ukraine and its implications.

"We were very pleased with the number of countries from differing continents that expressed their interest in hosting the FIVB Volleyball Men's Championship.

"Not only is this a testament to the strength of our sport, it is a clear showcase of humanity’s compassion and solidarity.

"Of course, my deepest concerns and thoughts are with those affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

"The global volleyball family is united in our desire for peace and stands in solidarity with all the victims.

"We hope that a peaceful resolution is found as soon as possible."

FIVB President Ary Graça has thanked the current co-hosts of the Men's Volleyball World Championship, Poland and Slovenia, for their
FIVB President Ary Graça has thanked the current co-hosts of the Men's Volleyball World Championship, Poland and Slovenia, for their "solidarity" in stepping in as replacements ©Getty Images

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had already banned Russia from hosting major events, such as the World Championships, as part of sanctions imposed against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for manipulation of data from the Moscow Laboratory.

Despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) halving the sanction from its original length of four years in December 2020, the CAS ruled Russia should be stripped of any major events it already has the right to host "unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so" until December 2022.

The FIVB said WADA acknowledged the tournament fitted this exemption, but was later able to reschedule the World Championship in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Graça added: "I am really looking forward to the World Championship in Poland and Slovenia.

"Both countries have previously hosted world-class international volleyball events.

"Of course, Poland’s hosting credentials are impressive, and Slovenia is also very enthusiastic and committed to welcoming the players and fans to the country for one of the biggest celebrations of our sport."

Graça, who took up his current role in 2012 and was re-elected for a further eight-year term in 2016, said the previous hosting of the Men's Volleyball World Championship by Poland in 2014, and accompanying marketing, had marked a turning point for the sport.

The Brazilian official added that the sport was now being financially underpinned by the deal signed with CVC Capital Partners in February 2021, and said money spent on the volleyball development worldwide had increased by more than 300 per cent since the took over the FIVB Presidency in 2012.

For the full interview with Graça, click here to visit the Big Read.