Often, when celebrating these types of anniversaries, there are some discrepancies in the dates, disputes between historians and chroniclers. Is everything clear with our volleyball?
Stanislav Shevchenko: The birthday of volleyball in our country is the date of the first match, which was held according to the official international rules in force at that time with all the necessary attributes: refereeing, spectators, game protocol. It has been established with absolute precision and has been repeatedly reverified: the first volleyball match in the Soviet Union took place on July 28, 1923 in Moscow on Myasnitskaya Street. The teams from the Higher Art and Technical Workshops and the State College of Cinematography met.
Tell us briefly, how are you going to celebrate the centenary of the game in Russia?
Stanislav Shevchenko: Almost all of our classical volleyball, beach volleyball and snow volleyball championships and tournaments this year will be held under the sign of the anniversary celebration. At the competitions there will be symbols prepared by us, banners. The judge-informer or the announcer from the arena will definitely remind the fans of the 100th anniversary of their favorite game in Russia. On a significant day, July 28, which will be Friday, the decisive matches of the stage of the Russian beach volleyball championship will take place in St. Petersburg. We are negotiating with the city authorities to hold these games in a crowded and historical place in the city on the Neva, and to celebrate the 100th anniversary there in a bright and creative way. In December, at the end of the anniversary year, the VFV organizes a volleyball gala evening. We will invite veterans, the best coaches, players, referees, club leaders and regional federations. In general, all those who forged the glory of our volleyball, who today are doing everything possible to popularize our sport in Russia. The setting for the gala night is still in development, but I assure you that the federation will organize a large-scale and memorable event. We have also started to reprint the “Volleyball” encyclopedia. This heavy tome will make a great gift for all fans of flying ball.
Numerous national team victories aside, what achievements in the 21st century can the WFV be especially proud of?
Stanislav Shevchenko: In classical volleyball, we have created a powerful system of national competitions, and its pinnacle is the Super League. Our club tournament is considered one of the strongest in the world and in Europe, top-class foreign stars willingly come here, and yet, in the interests of the national team, we continue to maintain the limit – no more than two foreigners in the Super League. team. Even trailing main rivals on the continent in terms of the number of foreign volleyball players invited, our men’s clubs clinched the European Champions League title for seven years in a row. From a low-key tournament in the 1990s, the Russian Cup has become the brightest event since 2003, and we are trying to change the venues of the decisive stages. For example, at the end of last year, the men’s “Final Four” was organized by Novy Urengoy for the first time, and the women’s – for the first time – was held in Tula. We are proud of the creation of the Youth League, where talented boys and girls constantly practice the game. Colossal progress has been made in beach volleyball on all fronts. Vyacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovsky in 2019 won the world championship for the first time among Russians, then a couple of years later they took Olympic silver in Tokyo. As soon as official snow volleyball tournaments began to be held in the mid-2010s, we quickly took a leading position in this discipline, winning both the European Championship and the World Tour and Eurotour stages. And the calendar of Russian competitions for bathers and masters of the game in the snow becomes more dense and rich every year.
Volleyball match between the national teams of the USSR and Hungary at the Tokyo Olympics. 1964 Photo: RIA Novosti
There is a feeling that the number of live broadcasts of volleyball matches on TV over the past ten years has grown, if not by an order of magnitude, then at least several times …
Stanislav Shevchenko: Once upon a time, fans complained that they did not have enough streams. Now you can watch volleyball almost all day. One, two, three matches of each round of the Super League are broadcast on the Match TV holding channels, and for the most part on the federal public programs Match TV and Match! Country, with doubling on Match! Planet for foreign broadcasts. Even more games on the TV Start and TV Start Triumph channels, which have recently significantly expanded the geographical coverage of the broadcast. And finally, all the games of the national championship in different divisions, the Russian Cup, the Youth League, with extremely rare exceptions, can be viewed on the official website of the VFV. Some days, especially on weekends, in our regular section “Volleyball on TV” on the Volley.Ru portal, from thirty or more positions in the broadcast program. Yes, this progress in terms of television is also a great success for us.
His approach impresses almost all traditional tournaments under the auspices of the VFV to make personals. What is the task here?
Stanislav Shevchenko: We are very sensitive to the history of our volleyball and we want the names of great players and coaches to appear in the information space as often as possible. This idea began to be implemented back in 2009, when it was decided that the Women’s Russian Cup would be permanently dedicated to the memory of the great mentor Givi Akhvlediani, and a similar men’s tournament to the memory of the great player Konstantin Reva. In other competitions, every year we try to change the memory of the merits of one or another famous volleyball player from a glorious past. This applies to the name of the championship divisions of the men’s Major League “A”, matches of the Russian Super Cup, “Star Games”, the Cup of the country for Major League teams. Thus, by linking ourselves to specific individuals, year after year it seems that we are flipping through the “golden” pages of domestic volleyball achievements.
The Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation, Oleg Matytsin, in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, said that the empty stands at various matches of the 2022 World Cup in Poland and Slovenia became anti-volleyball advertising. Do you agree?
Stanislav Shevchenko: We had everything ready for the men’s world championship and we paid special attention to the ticket schedule. For sports fans of each of the ten cities where it was planned to host the tournament games, the championship was supposed to be a one-time event, fans were actively buying tickets and ready to fill the stands of sports halls to the maximum. . maximum, many of which were built specifically for the World Cup. Unfortunately, the holidays were taken away from us and the world championship at the beginning was really unpleasant because of a large number of empty seats. However, our great work that has been done in conjunction with the Government of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Sports in preparation for the world championship will not be lost, we will make the most of the legacy, even if the tournament did not take place. . The main legacy was, of course, the infrastructure. A sports palace was built in Kemerovo, this season the local Kuzbass is already organizing home matches of the Super League there, the Belogorye sports palace long awaited by volleyball fans was erected, a large-scale reconstruction of the Uralochka sports palace in Yekaterinburg place. Construction continues on a sports palace in Yaroslavl, a city with a rich volleyball history. In general, the ten cities that were to host the 2022 World Cup matches now have modern sports halls. In addition, in many rooms, the material and technical base was modernized: repairs were carried out, equipment was purchased. In addition, a lot of work has been done in children’s and youth sports. Of course, volleyball equipment was also sent to secondary schools, large-scale actions were held there, which, I am sure, attracted many future athletes to volleyball.
Many are worried: the Olympic selection cycle is already beginning, and Russia is still under the conditions of a temporary suspension of participation in official tournaments. Will time run out forever?
Stanislav Shevchenko: The situation itself is extraordinary and the decisions do not depend on us. But I’ll reassure fans: It’s too early to worry. For bathers, the situation with the qualifications is more complicated than for the ‘classics’, but for the moment it is not critical either. The results shown in international competitions from January 2023 to June 2024 are included in the ranking of Olympic teams, but for each couple the 12 best performances are counted. The Pro Beach Tour stage schedule is quite tight, losses earlier this year can be made up later. But, the truth is that the longer we are out of the game, the more proportionally the chances of a trip to Paris will diminish. In classical volleyball, the selection formula is such that the Russian teams will continue to hope to go to the Olympics until the very end. And here the main thing is that our country can take part in the Summer Games. After qualifying tournaments, which will take place this fall, five men’s and women’s teams will make it to the Olympic Games in June 2024 based on current world rankings. There, our positions are quite high, and non-participation in international tournaments does not lead to a decrease in the number of points.