London to host CEV Continental Cup
19th December 2018
Next summer international beach volleyball will return to England as London will play host to the first round of the CEV Continental Cup.
The European Volleyball Federation (CEV) have confirmed that the Feel Good Too Centre in Leyton (pictured above) is one of eight venues which will host a Continental Cup round one event on May 25th and 26th 2019. The announcement is more good news for beach volleyball following the story this month that the British Volleyball Federation has gained aspiration funding to support getting Team GB to 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“It’s an honour that the CEV has selected England as a host venue for the Continental Cup,” says chairman of Volleyball England, Adam Walker. “It provides brilliant opportunities for volunteers, fans and athletes to come to London to be part of a prestigious competition, which is a route for qualification for the Olympic Games, and could inspire more people in England to get involved in beach volleyball.”
Played over three rounds between now and June 2020, the Continental Cup sees international teams face-off with the winners of the cup gaining qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The event in London will form part of round one.
Hosting international beach volleyball
Being able to host CEV international beach volleyball has been made possible thanks to the backing of the local government in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The local council generously supported the redevelopment of the beach volleyball facility at the Feel Good Too Centre, which will have two show courts for matches, as well as meeting the costs of hosting the event. Volleyball England are working in close partnership with the council and event management company SideOut to deliver the competition and hope it captures the public’s imagination.
Chief Executive at London Borough of Waltham Forest Martin Esom said: “The London Borough of Waltham Forest is the first borough of culture for 2019 and as such are committed to delivering high-level events.
“To stage the first round of the CEV Continental Cup at the newly relocated Beach Volleyball Centre shows our commitment to the sporting and cultural landscape here in London. This event will form part of our celebration and will link with other social and cultural events. We very much look to welcoming the European Beach Volleyball Family to Leyton.”
Hosting the Continental Cup is part of the council’s mission to bring international sporting events to this area of north east London and promote the development of the inland beach facilities which consist of six floodlit courts in total.
As the legacy of London 2012 continues to grow, people who helped deliver the beach volleyball at the Olympics will be involved and the venue itself includes sand from Horse Guards Parade and London 2012 legacy equipment.
The venue is also the new home of SideOut beach volleyball club, which along with event management company SideOut, will be providing their expertise for the Continental Cup event. Managing director of the company Mark Kontopoulos will be the tournament director and said:
“We are incredibly excited to be bringing international beach volleyball back to London for the first time since the 2012 Olympic Games and to be giving our national teams the opportunity to start their journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a home tournament. We look forward to working with our partners at the London Borough of Waltham Forest and Volleyball England to deliver a world-class event.”
An exciting opportunity
The Continental Cup is played in an exciting format. Countries enter two teams per gender and play off in a contest which is best of three matches. The countries first pairs will play each other, while the second pairs will also play. If the contest is tied after those two matches, the coach of each country can select any pair from their four players to play in a deciding match.
It’s a brilliant spectacle and it is expected England will enter the men’s and women’s event in London, as in CEV events, the home nations enter as individual countries. That is great news for home fans who will be able to watch and cheer on their country.
With UK Sport awarding the British Volleyball Federation £68,750 for beach volleyball, the Continental Cup could provide the route for Team Great Britain to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
The winners of the Continental Cup will gain qualification to the Games and the finals stage is exclusively for athletes who have not already qualified. The British Volleyball Federation is currently developing how the funding will be used and once the programme is developed Team GB are expected to be involved in the competition with the aim of reaching Tokyo.
Having the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games is the latest good news for beach volleyball in Britain. It has been a great year for beach volleyball with Team England men’s and women’s pairs qualifying for and competing at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last March, while Javier and Joaquin Bello followed up winning gold at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games by qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games in October, where they represented Team GB and managed a fifth-place finish.
Visit the CEV website for more information about the Continental Cup, including the full competition schedule.