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  • Ukraine wins the European Golden League Men's title and qualifies for the Volleyball Challenger Cup 2024 with targeted support from FIVB Volleyball Empowerment

  • FIVB Volleyball Empowerment Coach Ioannis Athanasopoulos leads Czech Republic to silver in the Women's Golden League and a place in the Challenger Cup

  • The men's teams of Austria and the Faroe Islands as well as the women's team of Finland win medals in the European Silver League with the support of the program

  • The men's team of Croatia and the women's team of Sweden also qualify for the Challenger Cup 2024

CEV Volleyball European Golden League – Men

The FIVB Volleyball Empowerment Program has been supporting the Ukrainian Volleyball Federation since 2022 with an annual grant of CHF 210,000 to continue its volleyball and beach volleyball activities. The country's men's national volleyball team topped the podium at the CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2024 and qualified for the upcoming Volleyball Challenger Cup from July 4 to 7 in Linyi, China, which will compete for a place in the expanded Volleyball Nations League 2025.

In the final of the European Golden League (shown in the main photo; source: cev.eu)held at the Gradski Vrt Hall in Osijek, Ukraine managed a 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 28-26, 25-19) comeback against hosts Croatia, with outside attacker Yevhenii Kisiliuk leading the scoreboard with 19 points. This was the second time Ukraine won the Europa League after their triumph in 2017. They will participate in the Challenger Cup for the second time, after winning the bronze medal in Qatar last year. As runners-up, Croatia also booked a ticket to Linyi and will participate in the Challenger Cup for the fourth year in a row. They won the tournament they hosted in 2022. In the semifinals on Saturday, Ukraine managed a 3-0 (26:24, 25:16, 25:20) victory against the Czech Republic, while Croatia celebrated a narrow 3-2 (25:20, 24:26, 25:21, 19:25, 15:13) victory over Estonia.

Ukraine stands at the top of the podium of the CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2024 for men (Photo credit: cev.eu)

The Czech Republic recovered with a hard-fought 3-2 victory (20-25, 25-22, 31-33, 27-25, 15-12) over Estonia to take bronze after twice coming back from a set down in the third-place match. Places five to 12 in the final European Golden League table were occupied, in that order, by Belgium, Spain, Finland, Portugal, Romania, North Macedonia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.

Results and standings

CEV Volleyball European Golden League – Women

The Czech Volleyball Federation has received CHF 72,000 in coaching support for its women's national volleyball team, which works under the leadership of Greek coach Ioannis Athanasopoulos. He led the team to the final of the 2024 CEV Volleyball European Golden League for Women, which was enough for a place in the Women's Volleyball Challenger Cup from July 4 to 7 in Manila, Philippines. The event in the Philippine capital also offers a place in the expanded Women's Volleyball Nations League in 2025. The Czech Republic is expected to participate in the Challenger Cup for the third time. Their best result so far in this competition was also a silver medal in 2019.

Sweden and the Czech Republic secured their places at the Manila event by winning the European League semifinals on Saturday. At the Final Four event in Ostrava, hosts the Czech Republic edged Romania in a 3-1 (19-25, 25-13, 25-18, 30-28) four-set match as Gabriela Orvosova led the team with 17 points. Sweden endured a five-set saga to defeat Belgium with a dramatic 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12). On Sunday, Sweden won the Women's European Golden League for the first time in history and will compete in the Challenger Cup for the second time after finishing runner-up behind hosts France last year. In the final of the European League in the RT Torax Arena, the Swedish star scored 30 points alongside Isabelle Haak and led her team to a spectacular 3:2 (25:22, 21:25, 18:25, 25:20, 15:11) victory over the home team. Outside attacker Michaela Mlejnkova was the Czechs' best scorer with 22 points.

Czech Republic celebrates its qualification for the Volleyball Challenger Cup after defeating Romania in the semifinals of the Women's CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2024 (Photo credit: cev.eu)

Belgium took bronze after a 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-19) victory in the third place match against Romania. Ukraine, Spain, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia and Austria finished fifth to twelfth in the final rankings, in that order.

Results and standings

CEV Volleyball European Silver League – Men

The Austrian Volleyball Federation has used CHF 72,000 from the FIVB Volleyball Empowerment Program for its national volleyball teams and another CHF 5,000 for a knowledge transfer program to develop national volleyball coaches. The federation's men's national team has won a silver medal at the 2024 CEV Volleyball European Silver League. In a dramatic final played last Thursday at the UVC Raiffeisen Volleydome in Ried im Innkreis, Austria, Israel disappointed home fans with a nerve-wracking 3-2 (22:25, 25:27, 25:19, 29:27, 16:14) comeback after two sets to finish on top of the podium, despite a fantastic 37-point match-top from Austria's opponent Michael Czerwinski.

Austria against Israel in the epic final of the CEV Volleyball European Silver League 2024 for men (Image credit: cev.eu)

Third place in the competition went to the Faroe Islands, whose national association also benefited from 72,000 CHF in coaching support as part of the FIVB Volleyball Empowerment program and a further 5,000 CHF in coaching training for the national volleyball team. In the decisive match for third place, Serbian head coach Boban Ilic and his staff led the team to a 3:0 (26:24, 25:23, 25:19) home victory against Iceland.

Results and standings

CEV Volleyball European Silver League – Women

The Finnish Volleyball Association has so far received a total of CHF 221,000 from the FIVB Volleyball Empowerment Program, of which CHF 72,000 went to coaching support for the women's national volleyball team and another CHF 5,000 went to developing coaches for the national volleyball team. With Swiss coach Nikolas Buser leading the team, Finland reached the final of the 2024 CEV Volleyball European Silver League for women, a home and away match against Portugal. The first away match in Santo Tirso last Thursday was won by the Finnish team 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-11). However, in the return match at home in Tampere on Sunday, the Portuguese recovered with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 26-24) victory and then took the epic Golden Set with a thrilling 23-21 to be hailed as Silver League winners.

Finland against Portugal in the decisive final of the CEV Volleyball European Silver League 2024 for women in Tampere (Photo credit: cev.eu)

Hungary, Montenegro, Georgia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Iceland and the Faroe Islands finished third to ninth in the final ranking.

Results and standings

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