Athlete voice key to success of FIVB support fund

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing sport to a halt globally for periods of 2020, it was vital that sports organisations planned to protect their athletes. Although protecting athletes’ health was the number one priority, financial security was also of great concern to International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) across the globe. The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) recognised this and launched its Athletes’ Relief Support fund in May. The fund has been a success and is a great example for other sports organisations to follow.

  • The Athletes’ Relief Support Fund was established specifically to provide efficient assistance to those affected financially by the global coronavirus pandemic.
  • It has proved popular among athletes, and numerous volleyball players have benefited.
  • The FIVB Athletes’ Commission (AC) spearheaded the initiative alongside FIVB President Ary S. Graça F°.

Earlier this year, as the impact of COVID-19 became clear and the international sports calendar began to see cancellations, sports organisations had to be swift and decisive in their actions to ensure that athletes were protected. And for many IFs and NOCs, their athletes’ commissions were a key part of this process.

Athletes’ Commission importance

At the FIVB, the Athletes’ Commission (AC), in collaboration with the Executive Committee, quickly moved to support their athletes financially, in the knowledge that volleyball and beach volleyball represent a large part of their livelihoods. The AC President, Gilberto “Giba” Amauri de Godoy Filho, met weekly with the Secretary General to ensure that the athletes’ voice was represented at each stage of the process.

“The FIVB AC is an essential link between the players and the FIVB. I am so proud of our International Federation and its continued devotion to supporting volleyball and beach volleyball players worldwide, both on and off the court,” said Giba, a three-time Olympic medallist from Brazil.

“Together, we have collaborated closely to listen to the voices of our athletes and assist those most affected by the necessary cancellation of FIVB events during these challenging times.”

“Together, we have collaborated closely to listen to the voices of our athletes and assist those most affected by the necessary cancellation of FIVB events during these challenging times.”

A thorough process

When the Athletes’ Relief Support fund launched in May, its overarching principle was to aid those who were unable to afford the basic necessities, including food, family care and housing. In addition, each case would be analysed individually to ensure that distribution was fair, which led to the appointment of a dedicated Task Force with members of both the FIVB and the FIVB AC involved. Although this led to a longer process, it also allowed every case to be fairly assessed and support distributed to those truly in need.

FIVB AC member and Dutch beach volleyball player Madelein Meppelink said: “It is amazing to see the FIVB continually seek to assist us both on and off the court. I know that, for many of my fellow athletes, the Athletes’ Relief Support fund will be a vital initiative which will help tremendously during these dark times.”

Ongoing commitment

The support fund was open for application for one month in June. Because of its popularity among the volleyball athlete community, distributing the funds then became the top priority for the FIVB AC.

The success of this AC-driven initiative has sparked fresh conversations within the FIVB Executive Board about future programmes which could be used to support athletes. The FIVB AC had initially planned to introduce an Athlete Support Fund in previous years, but the arrival of COVID-19 accelerated and modified the programme into what was released in May. The AC will now assess the impact of the fund and investigate a potential fund for the future, which could continue regardless of the situation with the global pandemic.

To access Athlete365’s dedicated resources for athletes’ commissions, click here