The start of the indoor volleyball season is once more rapidly approaching and with it comes the annual congressional meeting of the European Confederation. This year’s General Assembly was held in Vienna to coincide with the city hosting the finals of the Volleyball European Championship and once more Margaret Ann and I attended to represent Scotland’s interests.
Ahead of the main meetings we attended the General Assembly of the CEV Small Countries Division where a total of 15 of Europe’s smaller nations meet to agree jointly how we can best develop, promote and play volleyball. The full Agenda included a review of financial matters and approval of the CEV SCD statutes along with discussion of technical matters such as the development of beach volleyball competitions within SCD and player eligibility rules. It was also agreed that we would move to appoint a Project Manager to help enhance sport specific activity across the group.
The afternoon session then focussed on SCD elections for the positions of President, Executive Committee (ExCom) Members, Internal Auditors and Honorary Members. You may already have heard the result of the first of these as Margaret Ann Fleming won a fine victory for Scotland by being elected SCD President with an impressive 2/3rds majority vote and will now lead the SCD for the next 4 years. Outgoing President Andreas Stavrou was warmly thanked for his 9 years of dedicated commitment to the SCD cause and elected as Honorary President of SCD. With Margaret Ann’s promotion leaving a gap as Vice-President, Branco Vlahovic from Malta was elected into this post to join the rest of the continuing ExCom to complete the Board. Delegates from all 54 European countries then travelled to the competition hall in the evening to see some quarter-final action before attending an official dinner hosted by MIKASA.
The CEV General Assembly then got underway with an Official Ceremony and opening speeches before working sessions covering 2010/11 Activities and Marketing Reports, Financial Reports and Reports from each of the CEV Commissions. There were then sessions on youth development and “Top Volleyball” before presentations on activities across the Zonal Associations and Small Countries Division. There were then progress reports from each of the organisers of the 2012 and 2013 European Championship and Olympic qualification tournaments. The evening Gala Dinner in the Vienna Rathauskeller rounded off the day before Assembly continued on Saturday morning with CEV elections. The first news of the day was that André Meyer was re-elected as President of the European Volleyball Confederation by receiving an almost unanimous mandate from the delegates present. The next landmark decision was to elect the CEV Board of Administration where Scotland once again received a huge boost with Margaret Ann being elected to this august body. The full Board under the Chair of André Meyer now consists of Aleksandar Boricic (SRB), Agustin Martin Santos (ESP), Renato Arena (ITA), Banu Can Schürmann (LIE), Jan Hronek (CZE), Achilleas Mavromatis (GRE), Miroslaw Przedpelski (POL), Philip Berben (BEL), Vladimir Patkin (RUS), Sinem Mavili (TUR), Peter Kleinmann (AUT), Dancho Lazarov (BUL), Eric Adler (DEN), Margaret Ann Fleming (SCO), Maris Pekalis (LAT) and Lubor Halanda (SVK). Following a brief recess to allow the new Board of Administration to meet Assembly then approved the nominations of the ExCom Members and Commission Presidents before then voting on the European representatives to FIVB and Mediation Chamber Members.
We then travelled back to the Wiener Stadthalle to see Italy win comfortably against Poland in the first semi-final before Serbia then won an epic battle with Russia. The last day of our trip started with the first meeting proper of the new Board of Administration and then a meeting of the SCD ExCom before a visit to the European Championships where Poland were victorious in the bronze medal game against Russia before Serbia once more performed brilliantly to defeat Italy 3:1 in a superb spectacle of volleyball at its very best.
Once more the trip to Congress was a lot of hard work, but this time more than ever it was worth every ounce of effort that went into it. Margaret Ann’s years of effort, commitment and dedication to our sport has seen her elected into two positions of real influence and responsibility. The feedback that I received after the elections from across all of Europe and from the visiting Presidents from the African and South American Confederations was overwhelmingly positive. Our Chief Executive is much appreciated in the world of volleyball and her capability has been acknowledged by her peers from across Europe. I am certain that everyone in Scotland will share my pride in her achievements and join me in wishing her the success that I am sure she will bring to both new roles.