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27/10/2016 13:09
Champions League debut sparks excitement across Israeli Volleyball family
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men & Women

Tel Aviv, Israel, October 27, 2016. The 2016-2017 season has just started in Israel and it will coincide with a historic moment for the country’s Volleyball family as the reigning Israeli national champions – Hapoel MATE-ASHER AKKO and Maccabi XT HAIFA – are set to make their debut in the elite club competition in Europe, i.e. the CEV Volleyball Champions League. The start of the season was marked by a public event which was broadcast live on TV and included the awarding of the best coach from last year’s national league according to the end-of-season statistics.

The President of the Israel Volleyball Association, Mr Arie Locker said: “Volleyball continues to grow in our country as it is shown by the steady increase in the number of players and teams involved in our competitions. On top of this, as many as 17 youth teams have asked for affiliation to our Federation earlier this year. We have achieved the impressive number of 5,000 licensed players and our goal is to improve on that. We have also increased the number of students attending our Volleyball Academy in Netanya with 50 more having enrolled this year.”

Mr Locker continued: “The men’s national team had a good season and showed some progress under the guidance of their Polish-born coach Grzegorz Rys. As for the women’s team, we have started a new project setting major goals up to 2024 – and we hope that the future will be bright for them as well. I am sure that we have interesting weeks ahead with the historic debut of our men’s and women’s national champions in the CEV Volleyball Champions League.”

The CEO of the Israel Volleyball Association Yaniv Noyman said: “We expect to broadcast as many as 40 matches this season. We have been developing a new ‘amateur’ league, the so-called League A, which will start this year. Our vision is to reach a major goal – i.e. to count on as many as 8,000 licensed players. We are developing fast also when it comes to the infrastructure needed by our teams and the number of registered players keeps on growing with every year. I would like to thank the staff working at the Israel Volleyball Association for the great job they are doing.”

2016 Coach of the Year Noam Katz, who is at the helm of men’s national champions Hapoel MATE-ASHER AKKO, said: “We look back to the past season with much pride. I am happy that the other teams strengthened their rosters and we look forward to having a highly competitive and exciting national league. As for our debut in the CEV Volleyball Champions League, this is very good for us – we will gain international experience and this is very important for the development of our club and team.” Hapoel MATE-ASHER AKKO will make their historic debut in the CEV Volleyball Champions League on November 5 when hosting Austria’s multiple champions Hypo Tirol INNSBRUCK.

The coach of Maccabi XT HAIFA, Haim Kessel, said: “We are trying to improve and progress from season to season. We also want to create some kind of success story in Haifa with our first participation in the CEV Volleyball Champions League, which will help us raise the profile of our city as well.” Maccabi’s debut in Europe’s elite competition is scheduled for November 1 when the Israeli women’s national champions will play Poland’s Tauron MKS DABROWA GORNICZA.

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