On Friday, CEV President Aleksandar Boričić paid a visit to d’Coque, the iconic National Sports and Culture Centre in Luxembourg City, and more specifically to the women’s Small Countries Association (SCA) Championship that started earlier today and will run there until Sunday.
The CEV President enjoyed some time with the leadership of the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation (FLVB), now chaired by Ms Norma Kemp-Zambon, discussing opportunities for further cooperation with the Grand Duchy’s Volleyball family. The FLVB are currently playing host to the first official SCA competition this year, with participation of the national teams of Faroe Islands, Greenland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
It was the first such meeting with FLVB President Kemp-Zambon, as the CEV and FLVB wish to continue their partnership, which has been especially close since the CEV moved to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg back in the late 80s. The CEV President wished everyone involved in the SCA championship the best of luck as well as a smooth delivery of the event, which adds to the list of international tournaments and competitions successfully hosted by the FLVB in recent years. Picture: the CEV President portrayed together with FLVB President Norma Kemp-Zambon (far right), international referee and President of the FLVB Refereeing Commission Carole Hepp (far left) and the President of the FLVB Finance Commission, Ms Françoise Rossi-Wetzel.
Luxembourg are the winners of the 2019 Small Countries Association (SCA) women’s championship. The ‘Red Lionesses’ fought their way back from a set down to secure a 3-1 victory in the gold medal match with Scotland played on Sunday afternoon at the iconic d’Coque in Luxembourg City. This success bodes well for the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) that Luxembourg will be contesting later this month in Montenegro.
Luxembourg lost the first set 23-25 but regrouped to claim three in a row (26-24, 27-25, 25-21) at the end of a very close fight to end the Scottish winning streak in the tournament. The Scots were yet to lose a single set going into the gold medal match.
After three competition days, Faroe Islands completed the podium, courtesy of their 3-0 victory (25-11, 25-13, 25-11) in the bronze medal match with Northern Ireland. Ireland settled for the fifth place after securing their first victory in the competition in the classification match with Greenland (3-0; 25-15, 25-23, 25-18).
Despite the absence of some SCA powerhouses such as Cyprus and Iceland, it is a truly historic success for Team Luxembourg. Never before had the ‘Red Lionesses’ claimed gold from the SCA (formerly SCD) event. Luxembourg had previously finished runners-up four times (2005, 2007, 2013 and 2017).
Volleyball Ireland are delighted to announce W.E.D Consulting Ltd as their main women’s team sponsor for 2019.
The Dublin-based consultancy firm specialises in cost management, quantity surveying, project management and specialist project-control services on development and construction projects in Ireland and abroad. The partnership will see W.E.D Consulting becoming Team Ireland’s main sponsor for the Small Countries Association Championship, which begin in Luxembourg today, May 10.
Kevin Murphy, Managing Director of W.E.D Consulting said, “We are thrilled to be involved with the Irish national team in one of the most exciting and innovative team sports there is. We see great potential for the sport and we look forward to supporting the development of Irish Volleyball at an international level. As a company, we work in a fast-paced environment where innovation, vision and growth is key – it’s great to work with an organisation that shares those values.”
Ireland kick off their campaign against the Faroe Islands at 1 pm CET before taking on auld rivals Scotland at 6 pm. The competition also sees Greenland, Northern Ireland and hot favourites Luxembourg competing. Live streaming of the matches is available through the official Facebook page of the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation.
General Manager of Volleyball Ireland Gary Stewart added, “I am delighted to have WED in place as our senior team sponsor. We are putting in place development structures that will create a pathway from participation to performance but to do that needs support and having an Irish company providing that help is a key part of the jigsaw.”
Galway Volleyball Club’s Olivia Molloy is captaining the team and commented, “I would like to personally thank Kevin and WED for their support. The girls will represent Ireland and WED with great pride over the coming days. We have prepared well all year and cannot wait to get going.”
It is a big few weeks for Volleyball Ireland with the Beach Volleyball Continental Cup coming to Bettystown over the June Bank Holiday. Eight teams from across Europe will be competing with a main headline sponsor due to be announced next week. Picture: Seven of the Women’s Volleyball Team with Kevin Murphy of WED Consulting depart Dublin Airport to Luxembourg.
Luxembourg will be playing host later this week to the 2019 edition of the Small Countries Association (SCA) women’s championship. It is already the seventh time since 2003 that the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation (FLVB) hosts such an event. This time, the Grand Duchy warmly welcomes the teams of Faroe Islands, Greenland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and last but not least the Red Lion Ladies of Luxembourg, for the competition due to run at the iconic d’Coque from May 10 to 12, 2019.
“We are proud to support our young women’s team, starting their big Volleyball adventure with this competition before leaving in less than three weeks for the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) in Montenegro,” reads a statement of the FLVB. “They deserve our full attention. Join us to live some exciting moments with our team and our visitors from abroad.”
CEV Senior Vice-President Renato Arena attended last week the annual EU Sport Forum, this time held in Bucharest, Romania. Mr Arena was one of five speakers of the panel addressing the attendees on a truly important subject, i.e. ‘How can schools better contribute to the promotion of healthy lifestyles?’
The CEV Senior Vice-President emphasised the role and importance of the Erasmus + funded CEV School Project, which aims at enhancing physical activity among children in Europe by introducing a new concept of the Volleyball game at school, with a focus on growing the game at the grassroots level.
The project has already been an extremely successful one with activities carried out in countries as diverse as Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Ireland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Slovenia – with more due to follow.
Mr Arena was one of five speakers along with Nicole Pisani from Chefs in Schools, Wojciech Kalamarz, Head of Health determinants and International Relations Unit, DG SANTE, European Commission, Otylia Jedrzejczak, Polish Olympic champion, and Kaisa Blomberg, teacher at Jyränkö school from Heinola, Finland.
The EU Sport Forum was a truly unique opportunity to provide further exposure to the leading and pioneering role played by the CEV with regard to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle among school pupils and their involvement in physical activity, while spreading the core values that Volleyball stands out for such as teamwork, mutual respect and fair play.
were shared at Queen’s University Belfast in the 2019 run of the Celtic
Nations, the annual Volleyball celebration of Ireland’s Patron Saint
Patrick on his feast day, March 17. This was the 43rd edition of the
In the Junior (Under 19s) hosts Northern Ireland won both the men’s and
women’s matches against the Republic of Ireland, with the men triumphing
3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-18) and the women sealing a 3-1 (23-25, 25-21,
25-22, 25-22) win in their fixture.
At Senior level, the Scottish National teams flew to Belfast thru very
stormy weather but the Scotsmen succeeded in blowing away their Irish
opposition beating Northern Ireland 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-23) and
Ireland by the same score 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-16). Northern Ireland
took second place beating their southern visitors by 3-0 (25-15, 25-15,
In the Senior Women’s triangular, all the matches were closely fought
sets with Scotland beating the hosts Northern Ireland 3-0 (25-17, 25-16,
25-18) but losing to Ireland after coming from two sets down by 3-2
(25-21, 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 15-12). The southern Irish visitors took
the titles with a hard-fought win over hosts Northern Ireland 3-0
(25-20, 25-18, 25-19).
“Next year is the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Northern
Ireland Volleyball Association (NIVA) and the Saint Patrick’s weekend
has been a good preparation for that,” said Celtic Nations 2019 Director
Joanna McGrory, NIVA Vice President.
NIVA President Irena Mannik was delighted with the quality of the eight
matches. “We had the best crowd of hundreds at volleyball in Queen’s for
some several years who arrived early and stayed to the finish. I am
very grateful to the families and volunteers, to the players, coaches
and officials who made it such a success for Northern Ireland’s
Volleyball and Saint Patrick!”
The Faroese national cup finals were once again a huge success with the matches broadcast live nationwide. The men’s final was a one-sided affair with Mjølnir Klaksvík stretching their winning streak this season – they are yet to lose a single match – to secure the title for the first time since 2007. On the other hand, the women’s finale was a real drama with SÍ Sørvágur coming back from two sets down to pull out a 3-2 victory. Men’s final Mjølnir Klaksvík vs. Fleyr Tórshavn 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-14)
Having won all of their matches in the league as well as in the cup this season, Mjølnir Klaksvík were huge favourites to beat Fleyr Tórshavn in Saturday’s cup final. Mjølnir did not disappoint, and won in straight sets so secure their first cup title since 2007.
However, Fleyr gave Mjølnir stiff opposition in the first set and showed great resilience as they fought back from 16-20 to level at 20-all and again at 23-all. However, it was in vain, as Mjølnir won the next two points to secure the first set 25-23. Mjølnir controlled matters in the second set and opened up a five-point lead midway through it before winning it 25-20. In the third set, Mjølnir proved why they currently are the best team in the Faroe Islands as they powered their way to a 25-14 victory to secure their first cup title in 12 years.
“The first set was a bit hectic,” Mjølnir captain Thorvald Danielsen admitted. “It often is in cup finals. However, after winning the first set 25-23, I think our players became more relaxed,” Danielsen told Faroese television. “We have fantastic players in our squad. We are strong in all positions. I do not think we have any weaknesses,” he added.
Women’s final Fleyr Tórshavn vs. SÍ Sørvágur 2-3 (25-23, 25-22, 18-25, 18-25, 12-15)
If the men’s final lacked real excitement, the women’s match was a real five-set classic where SÍ Sørvágur fought back from two sets down to win 3-2 against Fleyr Tórshavn.
SÍ had made the better start in the first set, leading 14-9 and 19-15, but after 23-21, Fleyr won the next four points to snatch the set 25-23. The second set was similar, where SÍ led 14-10, but with a strong finish, Fleyr pulled ahead and won 25-22. After an 8-5 lead for Fleyr, SÍ levelled a 10-all and went from 13-all to 17-13 and never looked back and secured the third set 25-18. In the fourth set SÍ quickly opened up a massive 12-5 lead, which increased to 18-7, before SÍ won 25-18.
The tiebreaker was tight at 4-all, 8-all and 10-all before Fleyr took a 12-10 lead, but it turned out to be Fleyr’s last point as SÍ won the next five points in a row to secure the tiebreak 15-12 to complete a remarkable comeback to conquer the cup trophy for the first time since 2010.
“We just wanted this,” explained SÍ player Annika Niclasen to Faroese television. “We were so hungry for this. We have lost so many finals. We just had to win it this year. It is an incredible feeling. I played in all of those finals,” Niclasen said.
Peter Morell (61) and his wife Anne Frederiksen (58) are the driving force behind the extremely successful implementation of the CEV School Project in the Faroe Islands.
“We are from Denmark. We both have a background as teachers specialising in sports and I have a Master’s degree in Sports and Welfare,” Morell says. “I have worked for as many as 20 years as Development Director in Volleyball Denmark, finishing in 2016. Back in 2004, I developed and implemented the idea of Kidsvolley,” he continues. “This is a concept specifically designed for the youngest Volleyball players aged 6 to 12, which continues to work with great success in my native Denmark.”
“I stopped working for Volleyball Denmark three years ago, and it was my own choice. I wanted to follow my dream of being able to pass on my passion for Kidsvolley to others while experiencing other cultures and societies,” Morell recounts. “I would like to point out that I have still maintained my contact with Volleyball Denmark as a senior consultant. My wife Anne chose to stop working as a teacher three years ago. It was and is important to us that we could pursue and fulfil our dream together, as a family, as husband and wife,” he adds.
This dream has taken Peter and Anne to the Northern Atlantic. “Our first stop was the Faroe Islands. This is a small community of 50,000 inhabitants scattered across 18 islands in the middle of the Atlantic. It is a society with a strong sports culture and Volleyball as a central part of it. We have been living here and working for the Faroese Volleyball Association for three years now, focussing on the School Project supported by CEV. It has been a fantastic experience in every possible way,” Morell admits.
“We have been able to help develop Kidsvolley in schools and Volleyball
clubs for the benefit of a lot of children, teachers and coaches.
Everyone has been incredibly helpful and we have come to know many
amazing and nice people. They have learned Kidsvolley from us and in
return, we have learned a lot about the country and its culture. Being
able to make a difference for many children has been the major driving
force for us. To feel their joy when playing Kidsvolley and see how
quickly they come to manage different volleyball techniques has been
very rewarding,” he continues.
“During the three years we have spent in the Faroe Islands, we have
visited all schools and taught Kidsvolley to all children between 8 and
11 years of age. It is a pleasure to travel everywhere in the Faroe
Islands and be greeted by children who recognise us as those they have
had in Kidsvolley classes at school or in the club,” an emotional Morell
“The Faroe Islands have been the first stop of our journey, but will not
be our last. In September, we will move to Greenland to live there and
to teach Kidsvolley as well. It will be another fantastic experience and
we look forward to it. Being part of and experiencing a new culture
using Kidsvolley has become part of our lifestyle. We hope that in the
years to come, we will be able to work with Kidsvolley in many more
countries and to learn something from the people and cultures we will
meet along the way,” he concludes.
The women’s national team of Gibraltar are going to Liechtenstein next week to play a series of friendlies against the hosts as Liechtenstein are preparing for the Games of the Small States of Europe due to take place in Montenegro in late May.
“Gibraltar is always keen to compete against other countries,” says Emma Labrador, President of the Gibraltar Volleyball Association and a member of the national team as well. “Our Gibraltar team does not meet the eligibility criteria of CEV and FIVB, which is why we do not compete in these international events. We did however compete in the NatWest Island Games 2017 in Gotland, Sweden, as the eligibility criteria is different for the Island Games than it is for CEV and FIVB competitions.”
The 2019 Island Games will take place in Gibraltar, with Beach Volleyball featuring on the programme of the event, which offers a truly unique opportunity to promote the sport in the British Overseas Territory.
On Friday, the Faroese Sports Federation presented the Faroese Volleyball Association with the ‘Campaign of the Year’ award for 2018 for their ‘Kidsvolley’ project that has run now for a couple of years promoting and introducing Volleyball to kids in schools in the Faroe Islands.
The idea with Kidsvolley is that the youngest kids start with some very basic and altered Volleyball rules, which then evolve as the kids grow and according to their improved motor skills.
For the last couple of years, the Danish couple Peter Morell and Anne Frederiksen have been in charge of the project of introducing Volleyball to a large number of kids and teachers throughout the country, and in his acceptance speech, the President of the Faroese Volleyball Association Magnus Tausen was quick to praise them.
“Fortunately Peter and Anne had a dream to come and live in the Faroe Islands. They wanted to embark on an adventure. We have become a part of this adventure. They have visited every school in the country, and in most of them, they have held lessons in ‘Kidsvolley’ for teachers and kids,” he said.
Mr Tausen also mentioned the importance of the broader aspects of the sport as it contains so much more than the game itself: “It is also about making good friendships, helpfulness, respect for each other and solidarity across gender, abilities and age. A Volleyball-kid shall learn all of this and have the feeling of being important and being a part of something greater. That is what we try to achieve in addition to having the world’s best ball-game for all children,” Mr Tausen added.
The Faroese Volleyball Association has been organising school tournaments throughout the country, and in the spring a final round will be taking place for regional winners to find a national school volley champion. There is no doubt that this action – which runs under the umbrella of the CEV Schools Project – has paid dividends as there are numerous examples of children who have been introduced to Volleyball in the schools and who have later joined a Volleyball club. Often it has been children who had not practiced any other sports prior to their introduction to ‘Kidsvolley’.