Gstaad, Switzerland hosting another Swatch FIVB Major Series tournament

Returning for a record 16th consecutive year on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, Switzerland will once again host the extremely popular double-gender $800,000 Swatch FIVB Gstaad Major, the second of three events on the second year of the Swatch FIVB Major Series which is part of the FIVB World Tour. The Gstaad event, to be held July 5-10, will mark the 17th men’s competition in Switzerland and 18th women’s tournament to be held in this peaceful, picturesque country.

A total of 31 previous FIVB World Tour events have been staged in Gstaad, including 15 straight men’s events and 16 consecutive women’s events. A double-gender open for men and women was held in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2015. Gstaad was also host of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2007.

Following Gstaad, the other remaining Swatch FIVB Major Series tournament will be held in Austria (Klagenfurt, July 27-31), with the first major Series event for 2016 taking place in Croatia (Poreč, June 28-July 3).

As part of the continuing sponsor partnership, the Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball Season Final will take place from October 25-30, with the venue to be announced at a later date. The event will again feature the top eight teams and two wildcards for each gender from the 2016 FIVB World Tour. This illustrious group will compete for a total purse of $500,000 with the winning men's and women’s tandems receiving $100,000 each.

Switzerland has hosted a total of 33 FIVB World Tour events (16 men, 17 women) with Brazil leading the medal count in both genders.  In the men’s totals after 16 events in Switzerland, Brazil has 20 medals, followed by USA with eight, Germany with six, the Netherlands and Switzerland with three each, Italy with two, and with one men’s medal each in Switzerland are Argentina, Australia, Latvia, Russia, Spain and Turkey.

After 17 FIVB World Tour women’s events held in Switzerland, Brazil leads the medal parade with 20 total medals followed by the USA with 11, China with eight, Germany with four, Canada and the Netherlands with two each and with one medal each are Australia, Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland.

The first men’s FIVB World Tour event was played from February 17-22, 1987 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil while the first women’s FIVB World Tour event in Brazil was played in 1993 in Rio de Janeiro. The women’s FIVB World Tour held its first tournament in Spain in 1992.

The 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar began with three Open events at the end of 2015. The remainder of the 2016 calendar will include multiple FIVB Open and multiple FIVB Grand Slam events along with more Swatch FIVB Major Series events, and the second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The highlight of the calendar will be the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil featuring 24 teams in each gender.

The men’s championship team of the 2015 Swatch FIVB Gstaad Major was Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt. Winning last year’s women’s gold medal in Gstaad was Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca.

Gstaad is a picturesque village in the German-speaking section of the Canton of Bern in southwestern Switzerland in the shadow of the majestic Swiss Alps. It is part of the municipality of Saanen and is known as a major ski resort and a popular destination amongst the high society and the international jet set. Gstaad has a permanent population of about 3,200 and is located 1,050 metres (3,445 feet) above sea level, making it the highest altitude venue for a FIVB World Tour event.

The 2016 FIVB World Ranking system will again include FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam and Open events along with additional pre-approved events at the inter-continental, continental and national levels.

Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds. While the FIVB World Championships had 48 teams, all other tournaments have 32 teams and begin with a qualification tournament in each gender to determine the final eight teams in the main draw fields.

Country quota playoffs are also held, as needed, to determine the final teams for qualification tournaments.

The 2014-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup is back again this year as it completes its portion of the qualification process for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.