Dubai: The UAE Volleyball Association (UAEVA) has overhauled their competition calendar for the new season that will take off with the Shaikh Rashid International Volleyball Tournament from September 7-14.
"This is a brand new start for us and this new revamped calendar shows our earnestness in achieving the lofty goals that we have set for ourselves," explained Amer Ali, President, UAEVA, at its annual general body meeting, held in Dubai on Wednesday.
Ali was joined by vice-president Saeed Salim Al Kathiri; general secretary Fahd Abdul Rahman Al Mualla; assistant general secretary Khairi Mahboub Khairi and members Shaikha Shamsa Bint Hasher Al Maktoum, Nasser Hameed Nasser, Yousuf Ahmad Al Mana'ai and Anwar Ali Mohammad Al Affifi.
Defending champions Iran, China, Australia and arch-rivals India and Pakistan will join hosts UAE in the week-long competition that has long been the flagship event in volleyball for more than a decade.
As usual, the competition will be held on a single round-robin basis with a win fetching two points.
Iran, who won at a packed Al Shabab stadium last year, is ranked No 2 in Asia, while China is ranked No 4, Australia is seventh and India is ninth in the Asian ranking.
"So what we can expect is an amazing level of competition during the competition week, and this in turn, will help us kick-start our new season," Ali said.
The domestic season will get under way with the Association Cup from September 20 with teams playing the competition without the services of the national squad players who would be involved in the country's campaign at the Gulf Championships scheduled for Bahrain in mid-October.
The next event will be the Super Cup between league champions Al Ain and President's Cup winners Al Shabab on Nov-ember 7, followed by the UAE Volleyball League in a completely different format from November 11. The UAE Volleyball League will be divided into two phases: phase one consisting of a round-robin system to be played on a home and away basis and phase two being contested by the top four teams that come out from the first phase.
At the end of the two phases, the top eight teams will qualify for the Zayed Cup that will also be contested in two phases — the top four teams contesting for the Zayed Gold Cup and the bottom four vying for the Zayed Silver Cup honours.