The FIVB Athletes’ Relief Support fund, launched at the end of May 2020 to provide short-term assistance to professional volleyball and beach volleyball players impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent postponement and cancellation of FIVB events, has already provided basic needs support for 80 players worldwide.In order to ensure that the Athletes’ Relief Support fund is distributed fairly, the transparent online application process was conducted in two phases before the finalisation of approved applications. The process was led by a dedicated Task Force, which consisted of the FIVB leadership, FIVB Athletes’ Commission and wider FIVB Team. A total of 358 applications were completed by 272 volleyball players and 86 beach volleyball players for basic needs support. Additionally, 45 applications for short-term beach volleyball team support were submitted to assist with coaching, training and participation in competitions, and these will be analysed at a later stage when the international beach volleyball calendar is clarified.
Following a thorough analysis of the 358 applications for basic needs support on a case by case basis, 80 players were eligible to receive short-term assistance. The eligibility criteria included, but were not limited to, an income threshold, being clear from sanctions at international and national levels, having no anti-doping rules violations and having participated in the minimum required number of FIVB events during the 2018-2019 season.As a result of the initiative, players from a wide range of countries in Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Americas have now received financial support for basic needs, including: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, USA and Vanuatu. Additionally, the exact amount of three-month financial support varied between 429 USD and 8,451 USD depending on the economy of the country and city in which the players resides. FIVB President Ary S. Graça Fᵒ said: “I am delighted to hear that the FIVB has supported a number of players in need. This is especially true given how much time and dedication every single volleyball and beach volleyball player puts into our sport, and the significant impact that unavoidable event cancellations may have caused. I hope this fund will enable these players to concentrate on their health, wellbeing and training. We will continue working together with the FIVB Athletes’ Commission to process the remaining applications for short-term beach volleyball team support while planning for the safe return of our beloved volleyball and beach volleyball around the world.”President of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission Gilberto “Giba” Amauri de Godoy Filho said:“The FIVB Athletes’ Commission was very involved in the creation of the fund and analysis of all applications as part of the dedicated Task Force. We held regular meetings, multiple times a week, to review the completed applications as soon as they came through to ensure a speedy response. Of course, we are sad that not all the players were able to complete their applications within the given deadline despite numerous reminders from the Task Force to those who included their names and email addresses. I believe the fund will have a significant and positive impact, and my colleagues and I at the Athletes’ Commission are delighted to have supported those in need during these challenging times."