(ATR) Ary Graca tells Around the Rings
“how many exciting opportunities we have to grow our sport” is his biggest surprise since taking office as president of the International Volleyball Federation.
Ary Graca at home in FIVB headquarters. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
In his first English-language interview since the Sept. 21 election, he expresses thanks for the close cooperation of 220 member countries, roughly half of which voted for him at the 33rd FIVB World Congress in Anaheim, California.
“So many federations have voiced their interest in promoting volleyball,” says the Brazilian, who surrendered leadership of the South American Volleyball Confederation to focus on the FIVB.
Among the highlights of his 12-point election manifesto are to increase exposure of the sport, especially among digital media channels; to better integrate the international volleyball family; and to ensure continued growth through innovation.
“We are in a wonderful position to spread the game around the world,” he tells ATR
, “taking it into schools and boosting its profile internationally, and I am proud to be able to lead it into this new era.”
In his regular trips to Lausanne over the past two months, Graca says his priority has been “putting everything in place” to guaranteed a smooth transition from his predecessor Jizhong Wei of China.
“There has been significant change hinged on development within the organization over the past four years, and I would like to take the baton and run with it with a greater sense of purpose for the benefit of volleyball.”
Inside the FIVB
After pitching a revamp of FIVB headquarters as part of his campaign platform, the former banker stresses the need for more communication and cooperation inside the sprawling Swiss chateau.
FIVB headquarters. (ATR)
“One of our major goals is to improve communication both internally and externally and implement a better working structure within the head office and across the confederations,” Graca tells ATR
“I have already appointed a new general director, Carlos Luiz Martins, to be based in Lausanne full time, and this will definitely improve how we work across all levels.”
Others taking on new roles since the September election are Andre Meyer of Luxembourg as Graca's second executive VP and Amr M. Elwani of Egypt as an executive VP and treasurer.
Cristobal Marte Hoffiz of the Dominican Republic continues as first executive VP, a position he also held under President Wei.
Rounding Out the Agenda
Ary Graca takes to the court last week in his native Brazil. (FIVB)
Also top of mind for the Brazilian is “how to work more efficiently with all of the FIVB’s 220 member federations,” he says.
“We are a big federation, and there have been difficulties in the past to incorporate all of them as the FIVB continues to drive volleyball into all corners of the globe.”
Reported by Matthew Grayson
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