One Month to go - A Chance for a More Advanced Future

In exactly one month, the Member Associations of the CEV will make an important decision about the future of European Volleyball.

 

The CEV leadership appears, at this moment at least, to be insisting on holding the Congress in-person in Vienna. Over the weekend – and not unpredictably - the Austrian Chancellor Mr Kurz formally announced the onset of the second COVID-19 wave in the country. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has warned of many serious challenges on the horizon, and many countries have declared Vienna a high-risk area. As I have expressed many times before, I find it utterly disrespectful to our National Federations that there is an expectation for them to put their health at considerable risk for this event, when other solutions are so readily available.

 

Only last week, the FIVB sent the CEV Board a strong option for holding the Congress virtually – an option that has been used by the FIVB and the IOC, and would be considerably cheaper and safer for all involved than the in-person Congress that has been suggested. With one month to go, it is vital that the CEV leadership reconsiders this matter and provides our National Federations with the clarity they deserve. The CEV is completely alone in planning to hold a continental in-person gathering in 2020, let alone in four weeks’ time.

The rationale for this seems to a simple failure to understand the role of technology, and how it can benefit European Volleyball, and all its formats. As we look to the future, this must change.

 

Having decided to run for CEV President in January, I wanted to be very open about my reasons for doing so – in particular, presenting a range of initiatives that I would commence to take European Volleyball to the next level. Several of these focus on the role of technology in providing an important platform for grow our sport in a sustainable manner. At the moment, we are missing many opportunities that other sports are taking advantage of, and we risk losing important ground to them as a result.

 

As a reminder – among others, I would prioritise the following areas as President:

  • Initiate new CEV Innovation & Promotion Teams, to work alongside National Federations and provide regular online meetings with updates, tools and digital training opportunities.

  • Create engaging CEV Platforms, to present Volleyball as the modern, innovative sport that it is, by upgrading existing platforms (e.g. website) and creating a CEV app for fans across Europe.

  • Look into gamification opportunities, to ensure that future generations of followers are not lost, by facilitating the involvement of volleyball clubs, and undertaking research into a e-Volleyball game.

  • Enhance access to elite volleyball, by improving rights packages to enable Federations to show more Volleyball, while also looking at a CEV Super Cup and exhibition matches in developing markets.

 

As technology continues to evolve, so must we. In European Volleyball, we are missing important opportunities to engage with each other and grow and diversify our popularity like never before, for indoor Volleyball, Beach Volleyball and Snow Volleyball. Let’s seize these opportunities. Let’s take our sport to the next level.

 

As ever, I welcome the chance to discuss these ideas and more with you all. Please feel free to contact me using the contact information below.

 

Our 2020 Congress - Time to Listen to our Federations

For too long now, it has been my experience that the CEV has been largely run by just a few individuals. As a Vice-President for the past five years, I have been disappointed in the role that the Executive Committee and Board of Administration have been given by the leadership team. It was for this reason, that I felt compelled to run for the position of CEV President, where a new style of leadership is one of my key three pillars.

 

Whether it be unknown terms in commercial deals with partners, or finding out about special financial arrangements for some National Federations – the current CEV leadership team, in my experience, operates with far too much secrecy. This is the way that governing bodies were run decades ago. This is not the way that we will make progress in the future.

 

Another case in point is the management of upcoming Congress on 16th October. With six weeks to go, it is unbelievable that the leaders of National Federations have no clarity on how the Congress will take place.

 

The final decision about the Congress will be taken at an upcoming CEV Board Meeting, but again I have to question whether we are listening to our National Federations, many of whom have expressed their concern to me on this topic. 

 

Already, we are seeing other sports Federations change plans for their 2021 events, let alone for this year. As far I can see, the CEV is the only organisation in the world (!) - sporting or non-sporting - still considering a continental in-person meeting in October this year. Putting all politics aside, it is not normal.

 

So why must we consider a move to a virtual Congress so important?

 

Firstly, of course, we must protect the health of our colleagues. To expect people to travel across Europe at this time (no matter where to!), is, quite frankly, as absurd as it is disrespectful. The CEV must primarily stand for the health of all of our stakeholders and not put them in any risk. While we don’t have the powers to predict the future, all signs now show that the situation with COVID-19 could be even more complicated in upcoming weeks. This is not the time to take risks.

 

Moreover, with clear travel restrictions across Europe, there is a strong likelihood that many Federations – especially smaller ones with a smaller budget - will not be able to be physically present at an in-person Congress. This will help place the decision-making ability of the CEV in the hands of the few, not the many. And this is exactly what I want to see change. All Federations have to be treated equally and given the same opportunity to take part of Congress. The only way of doing this is to organise the CEV Congress online.

The final point here is about missed opportunity. By adapting to new technologies, conducting a virtual Congress will show everyone involved in European Volleyball that we are adapting to a more modern, greener approach; an approach that is needed if we are to continue to attract sponsors and grow as a sport.

 

Enough is enough. It is time to listen to our Federations, both for the upcoming Congress, and beyond.

 

Statement: My proposal to make the upcoming CEV Congress online

In just under two months’ time, our CEV National Federations will make an important decision about how they want the future of the European Volleyball to look.

While of course it is always best when the European Volleyball family can come together in one place, the current travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in and around Europe make it very difficult for such an important event, with so many participants from all over the Europe, to take place. This is particularly the case in Russia, where restrictions are currently in place over the entry of foreigners.

Naturally, we cannot predict the future, and how the virus will spread over the next two months, but looking at the latest information available, we see, that the numbers of new cases are increasing again and not decreasing. In light of this, I believe we have no other choice than to organise our General Assembly online, and having spoken to so many National Federation leaders about this topic, I am sure that we are also ready to do this.

 

To be clear - we can do this. I have asked for a legal opinion from Luxembourgish law firm ‘Chevrier & Favari Avocats’, and requested a thorough look into whether it would be legal and advisable to hold an online assembly due to the COVID crisis? The answer was emphatic – an organisation governed by Luxembourg laws is legally entitled to hold its general meetings without the physical presence of its members. The implication of this is obviously that all elections and their voting procedures must be conducted by independent third-party organisation to guarantee a fair and transparent process.

In light on this, I therefore urge that we reconsider the plans of holding the Congress physically in Moscow and instead propose holding the Congress online, including the various elections that are due to take place, under the management of an independent third-party organisation.

This has of course been done by others in recent months. A good example here is the IOC, who recently used third-party organisations LUMI and Notary to conduct online voting. Other organisations such as FIFA, World Rugby and World Sailing have committed to the same thing, and I am very happy to work alongside the CEV office to find the appropriate solutions here.

Importantly, taking the step of holding the Congress online will not only show that the CEV is prepared to adapt to new circumstances, but also provide all of our 56 National Federations with the clarity they deserve in these challenging times. With COVID-19 circumstances varying from country to country, an online Congress will also – crucially - enable all Federations to participate and contribute as equals, so that together we can drive a better future for our sport.

 

A Collective Will to Take a New Step Forward

This week, I have had the great pleasure of distributing my brochures to all of the CEV’s 56 National Federations.

The brochure details six separate areas I would prioritise as President of the CEV, including proposals to improve our governance system, provide additional development resources and opportunities to our Federations, and better promote our top leagues and the sport of Volleyball across the continent. All of these areas are available to view on my website here.

I have to say I have been delighted with the feedback I have seen about these proposals. Having held discussions with so many Federations – big and small - it is clear to me that there is a collective will for European Volleyball to take a new step forward to fulfil its true potential.

I’d especially like to thank all of those who have been so kind in giving me their time and perspectives throughout this period, and I look forward to discussing further with all of you over the coming months

.

As ever, I welcome your thoughts and the opportunity to connect with all of those who share a passion about European Volleyball, using my contact details listed below. I would also be happy to send you an electronic version of my brochure for those interested. For that, please contact me directly on hp@hanno-pevkur.org.

With best regards,

Hanno

hp@hanno-pevkur.org

+372 516 3578

Fully refurbished Beach Volleyball venue re-opens in Vilnius downtown

June 29, 2020 – After two years of anticipation, today the very heart of Vilnius re-opened its renovated major sports venue, which is due to regain its status as Lithuanian Beach Volleyball Mecca – which it did hold before its refurbishing.

As many as nine Beach Volleyball courts near the iconic White Bridge played host to a number of national and international events, such as the CEV Continental Cup, Satellites, plus EEVZA zonal tournaments as well as numerous national competitions. It was a great place to gather for all Beach Volleyball professionals and enthusiasts, open 24/7 for anyone ready to hit the ball.  It was closed for two years for a number of renovations and on Monday the re-opening eventually took place with much success.  

The re-opened sports venue also has facilities for basketball, skateboarding, BMX, beach tennis, outdoor exercise equipment, but most importantly it has nine new and fresh Beach Volleyball courts. 

The venue – including 8 training courts and a centre court – in the heart of Vilnius will soon regain its glory among Beach Volleyball lovers and hopefully become the home court for numerous international events in the future as well. Although there is still some work to do, the place is officially open and ready to host both national and international events.

The mayor of Vilnius, Mr Remigijus Šimašius together with the whole Administration of the Municipality greeted all the people who joined the opening ceremony and expressed his hopes that this renovated venue will become a leisure capital for all the people of Vilnius and the home to many international events.

The President of the Estonian Volleyball Federation and CEV Vice-President Hanno Pevkur attended the ceremony as well. After a very successful start to the 2020 Beach Volleyball season in Estonia, he enjoyed the opportunity to visit the fully refurbished venue in Lithuania’s capital and expressed his belief that it can become a much loved stage for international events: “Vilnius has now a very good facility to host international Beach Volleyball events. We know that Lithuanian Beach Volleyball has good quality and now there is a facility, which helps the players achieve top international level and can inspire more people to play Volleyball. I truly hope that the Vilnius City Government will help the Lithuanian Volleyball Federation organise high-level competitions in this beautiful venue,” Mr Pevkur said.

Combating Racism & Discrimination

June 08, 2020 – Recent events in the United States, and across the world, have shed a new, needed light on the ongoing discrimination of black people. In my experience working in politics, including with the EU, I have seen that so much of discrimination is unconscious, and that makes it all the important to have repeated, if not constant, reminders.

The solution is not easy. But rather than pointing the finger at other systems and places in the world, these times call for introspection. Are we, on an individual level and a community level, doing what we can to ensure the discrimination, that has plagued so many for so long, can finally come to an end? Or are we unconsciously or subtly supporting racism and other unjustifiable prejudices by staying silent, and seeing no need to change who we are and what we do?

European volleyball is not immune to this. While the issue should not be politicised, I was hoping that recent events would see the CEV make some kind of statement to address this, as other governing bodies, such as UEFA and EHF, have done.

One of my six policy initiatives announced earlier this year, and to be enacted should I become CEV President in October, is titled Inclusion at our Core. It focuses on the need for improved representation of geographical regions, players, coaches and genders in the CEV. Having reflected on recent events, it is now my view that this does not go far enough.

It is now clear to me that the CEV needs a fundamental rethink about how we discuss and prevent discrimination. We need to listen more to the views and feelings of all those from minority groups, not just now but over the coming months and years, when it may not make the headlines. Regardless of the outcome of the CEV Presidential election, we must look to establish a ‘Discrimination Working Group’, to enact a true process of listening to groups repeatedly discriminated against and identify changes we must make. True change can only come with action.

This is of course not the only solution, and in the spirit of better listening, I’d be grateful to hear about some of your thoughts and ideas on this. We simply must do more.

To get in touch, please email: info@hanno-pekur.org.

Important questions that must be answered

May 13, 2020 – The news in SportBusiness last week about the request from ACPV for more information about the CEV’s agreement with Infront was, perhaps, somewhat inevitable. As I stated at the time, the agreement between CEV and Infront raises a number of important questions that must be answered, and so far, have not been.

The content of the agreement has troubled many from the start of the process, with the financial terms leaving the CEV considerably worse off than other, comparable sports in Europe, and the length of the contract – 12 years – putting the CEV into a corner at a time when the media landscape is changing and growing so rapidly.

 

But that aside, I am perhaps most concerned by the process of which this agreement was completed, with the use of an external advisor and the lack of an open public tender – something which rightly raises concerns.

The impact of COVID-19 has and will continue to hit European volleyball hard. Now, more than ever, is the time for important questions about this agreement to be answered, and answered in full, so that the CEV can once again work alongside its National Federations, leagues and clubs to deliver a brighter future.

Pevkur Promises 'Digital Spike' for Volleyball as CEV President

April 28, 2020 – Hanno Pevkur today announced measures he would take as President of the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) to provide a digital boost to the organisation, helping it to become more attractive and engaging to those within the volleyball community.

 

Pevkur’s policy pledge, titled ‘Digital Spike’ and available to view in full here, outlines three areas of improvement he would prioritise as President, focused on enhancing connections with National Federations, improving existing CEV platforms and developing new ones, and looking into the creation of games for fans of European volleyball.

 

The pledge is Pevkur’s sixth in as many weeks, and follows previous commitments to support the CEV’s National Federations is a variety of ways, including plans to increase the CEV’s revenues, the provision of special support for smaller Federations to grow, and improvements to the CEV’s governance systems. All initiatives are available to view here.

 

On the release of Digital Spike, Pevkur said: ‘‘The current COVID-19 crisis will have many far-reaching implications for all sports, including volleyball. In particular, it is highlighting how international organisations such as the CEV must continue to become digitally stronger and smarter to engage with their global audiences. In my country, Estonia, we have invested many resources in building a digital society, and we are reaping the benefits of this in all industries. As the world continues to digitalise, we must take the opportunity now to make European volleyball ahead of its time and prepared to welcome new generations of fans, athletes and commercial partners to our sport. By making small changes now, we can have a big impact in our future.”

 

The vote for the next President of the CEV is due to place at the CEV General Assembly, now scheduled for 16th October 2020 in Moscow, Russia.

Pevkur announces Plans to Make Volleyball more Visible across Europe

April 21, 2020 – In the fifth of six policy pledges made in line with his candidacy for President of the CEV, the European Volleyball Federation, Hanno Pevkur today announced several initiatives he would undertake as President to support volleyball becoming more visible across Europe.

 

The pledge, titled ‘Into the Spotlight’ and available to view here, focuses on three key plans for growing the sport in all of the CEV’s 56 National Federations. These include the establishment of a dedicated CEV Promotion Team, consisting of experienced marketing professionals at the full disposal of National Federations, as well as a closer look at how to ensure all European countries can show high-profile volleyball matches from across the continent.

 

Further promises include the development of special events to be held in smaller and medium-sized countries, including a CEV Super Cup, featuring the winners of the CEV Champions League and CEV Cup, and a range of exhibition matches featuring top players and legends – all aiming to grow the interest in volleyball and help the sport compete with the likes of football and basketball for public attention.

 

Commenting on the initiatives, Pevkur said: 

 

‘All of us within the European volleyball community know what an amazing sport we have. At some point, watching the very best players compete against one another has inspired us all. Now, we must really focus on making sure that as many people across Europe can also be inspired in this way. By supporting the promotional efforts of our National Federations in a case by case basis, and by showcasing the best players in the world, we can help all of our 56 Federations take important steps to grow the sport in their countries, and become the universally popular sport that we deserve to be.’

 

For any questions and media enquiries about the policy, please email info@hanno-pevkur.org. Hanno Pevkur’s sixth policy pledge will be released next Tuesday 28thApril.

Pevkur promises to Close the Gap between National Federations if elected CEV President

April 14, 2020 – Hanno Pevkur, candidate to become the new CEV President later this year, today announced his plans to support the large group of medium sized volleyball Federations in Europe close the gap between them and the top Federations.

 

In his policy pledge, titled ‘Closing the Gap’ and available to read here, Pevkur outlines three main areas he would address to increase the competitiveness of the CEV’s major competitions. These include initiating studies into the qualification system for EuroVolley, increasing participation in CEV club competitions, and improving the level of cooperation with volleyball leagues and clubs. 

 

The ‘Closing the Gap’ pledge forms part of Pevkur’s ‘Winning Line-up for Volleyball’ – a series of six policy pledges aimed to present his ideas in a transparent manner and demonstrate how he would take the CEV forward as President.

 

Mr Pevkur added: “Having been involved in European volleyball for many years, it has become clear to me that the CEV must do more to help our small and medium-sized Federations to grow and compete against our best. Volleyball is by nature a competitive sport, but on some things, we are on the same team. By giving more countries the opportunity to grow and raise their standard, we can ensure that volleyball gets more coverage across Europe, and more revenues as a result. This must be in all of our interests.”

 

For any questions and media enquiries about the policy, please email info@hanno-pevkur.org. Mr. Pevkur’s next policy pledge, his fifth, will be released next Tuesday 21st April.

Pevkur announces policies to support smaller CEV Federations

April 7, 2020 – In the third of six policy pledges over a six-week period, Hanno Pevkur, candidate for President of the CEV, today announced his 'No One Left Behind' policy, laying out the actions he would take to support smaller European volleyball National Federations grow the sport in their countries.

 

The pledge, available to view here, focuses on a range of financial and professional support offerings, including the introduction of a solidarity payment system - sharing CEV commercial revenues directly with the Federations, the provision of business development consulting support, the expansion of educational programmes and commitment to support the efforts of Para Volley Europe.

 

The 'No One Left Behind' policy follow's Pevkur's promise of increased CEV revenues with a more transparent and modern approach in last week's policy, 'Open for Business'.

 

Reflecting on the policy pledge, Mr. Pevkur, the current CEV Vice-President for Development, said: "There is no doubt that the upcoming period will be challenging for our European volleyball family, with the postponement of many of our major events, including the Olympic Games. The effects of this will be felt across the board, but no more so than with our smaller Federations, who for many years have been expected to run on very limited resources. Now, we simply cannot leave these Federations behind. Small countries are an integral part of European volleyball, and we need to step up and deliver them the support they need, both financially and technically. By doing this, we can establish volleyball as a leading sport in every one of our 56-member countries - this must be our target and indeed our responsibility to achieve."

 

For any questions and media enquiries about the policy, please email info@hanno-pevkur.org. Mr. Pevkur’s next policy pledge will be released next Tuesday 14th April.

Pevkur promises more Transparency, Revenues for CEV

March 31, 2020 – In the second of six major Policy announcements, Hanno Pevkur today provided clarity on how he would ensure more transparency and revenues for the CEV, the European Volleyball Federation, if elected President at the CEV General Assembly on 19th June 2020.

The policy pledge, titled ‘Open for Business’ and available to view in full here, focuses on three central areas Pevkur would seek to change within the CEV – all with the core aim of enabling the organisation to attract new and increased revenues. Three areas in particular are focused on: how commercial partner agreements are made, how the CEV Headquarters is integrated and supported, and the publication of key CEV accounts.

 

Mr Pevkur said: ‘‘In the current situation, where economic downturn for the near future is inevitable, it is now more important than ever that the CEV is able to maintain existing revenues and bring in new revenues to support our National Federations, leagues, clubs and players across the continent. By taking progressive steps in improving how we work, we can make sure that all these groups are well supported, not only this year but for years to come. In my experiences in politics and business, I have seen how much transparency and openness can positively impact on revenues. I would make it number one priority as President to immediately enact these measures and provide the boost in financial support that European volleyball needs and deserves.

 

The ‘Open for Business’ policy pledge comes a week after his first pledge, ‘Inclusion at our Core’, was released, focusing on measures to improve gender equality in the CEV, as well as the inclusion of National Federations, players and coaches, into the decision-making of the CEV. Mr. Pevkur’s next policy pledge, will be released next Tuesday 7th April.

 

For any questions and media enquiries please email info@hanno-pevkur.org.

Pevkur announces proposed reforms to CEV Governance

March 24, 2020 Hanno Pevkur today announced his Inclusion At Our Core policy pledge, detailing concrete actions he would take as President of CEV to ensure that the organisation is fully-representative of its wide range of stakeholders.

Having launched his campaign to run for President just over one month ago, the ‘Inclusion At Our Core’ pledge is the first of six ‘Positions’ that Mr Pevkur will be announcing over the coming months, ahead of the Presidential election at the CEV General Assembly on 19th June 2020.

 

The pledge, available to view in full here, focuses on three governance-related actions Mr. Pevkur would undertake as President, aiming at improving the inclusivity of CEV decision-making. These focus on reforms regarding the selection of the CEV Executive Committee, the role of Players and Coaches in the CEV’s governance, and the importance of gender equality in European volleyball.

 

Mr Pevkur said: “These are obviously very challenging times and the priority of everyone should rightly be on doing their bit to prevent the ongoing spread of COVID-19. With that said, we are due to have an important election in June, and I feel it is only right and fair that all CEV National Federations, and all other members of our European volleyball family, are aware of what I stand for and what actions I would take as President of the CEV. This first pledge is one that is especially close to my heart. The strength of European volleyball lies in its people, and by including our diverse volleyball community in our decisions, we will gain real benefits over the short and long-term.”

 

Mr. Pevkur’s next policy pledge will be released next Tuesday 31st March.

 

For any questions and media enquiries please email info@hanno-pevkur.org.

Reflections about the COVID-19 outbreak

March 16, 2020While we all feel very passionate about Volleyball in Europe, in recent weeks we have been reminded about life’s priorities, especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) moving across Europe. 

For me personally, I found myself in the middle of this health crisis last week when a close friend of mine contracted the virus. In fact, it was the manager of Saaremma VC, the leading Volleyball club in Estonia, who tested positive following a CEV Cup match where I was present. In order to not take any risks, I self-quarantined and myself got tested.

 

Luckily it was negative, however it got me thinking. I believe that nobody across European Volleyball should be taking even the smallest of risk. This is why I would strongly recommend that we immediately:

 

1) Accept the need to terminate the season 2019/20 for both national and international leagues;

2) Accept the need to terminate the European Golden and Silver League 2020;

3) Create clear guidelines for all clubs regarding contracts of players;

4) Prepare clear instructions for all National Federations regarding next season’s European Cup.

 

Sometimes we face unforeseeable situations, however when we do find ourselves in such a crisis we can and we must show the necessary leadership.

 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has also blocked most travels around Europe, which means that I will not be to visit many National Federations over the coming weeks as originally scheduled.

 

Instead, I look forward to meeting you later this spring when the situation has hopefully returned to normal, but in the meantime I will be communicating with you via email and from my website www.hanno-pevkur.org. In the coming weeks I am looking forward to sharing six new, concrete initiatives, which I will commit to implement should you elect me as CEV President in June.

 

I hope you will find them interesting and look forward to hearing your insights and comments. Be sure to reach out to me via email at info@hanno-pevkur.org or on my social media channels. 

 

Take care of your health and those of your love ones.

 

With best wishes,

 

​Hanno Pevkur

Twitter - @HPevkur

Facebook - @HannoPevkurFuture

Instagram - @hannopevkur

Hanno Pevkur launches social media pages

March 10, 2020 – Today Hanno Pevkur officially launched his social media pages for his candidature for the CEV Presidency.

Mr. Pevkur will be present on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as he undertakes an inclusive, modern approach designed to clearly communicate his values and fully understand the various perspectives from all of those within European volleyball.

Mr. Pevkur said: “I am excited to have my social media pages up-and-running and dedicated to my candidature to be CEV President. Over the coming months, it is very important for me that I am open and accountable, and these pages are a great way of directly engaging with all of our European volleyball family, including our National Federations, leagues, clubs, players, coaches, and fans – all of whom should be given an important voice in how the CEV develops. I look forward to sharing and discussing my ideas over the coming months.”

Hanno’s Pevkur’s social media pages are the following:

Twitter - @HPevkur

Facebook - @HannoPevkurFuture

Instagram - @hannopevkur

To find out more about Hanno Pevkur and his vision for the future of the European Volleyball please go to: http://www.hanno-pevkur.org/

For any questions or media enquiries please email info@hanno-pevkur.org.    

 

Reflections from the CEV Extraordinary General Assembly

March 03, 2020 – The CEV Extraordinary General Assembly, held last weekend in Vienna, was a good opportunity for the CEV family to get together and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our sport over the coming years.

Much of the General Assembly focused on the renewal of the CEV’s agreement with Infront, which centres around an agreement based on €70m in payments for the next 12 years, plus value-in-kind.

Having been asked many times for my opinion and reaction towards such a deal, I feel it is important to address my views here.

First of all, let me say that Infront has been a valuable partner the CEV for more than 20 years. With their support during this period, our sport has had the possibility to grow. I have no doubt they will continue to be an important partner for us in the future.

During the General Assembly, and since, there have been legitimate questions about both the content and the process of the renewed contract.

Regarding the content of this contract, the figure agreed upon is an increase, yes, but there are understandable concerns about whether it is the increase we should be looking for. It is publicly known, that the European Handball Federation, FIBA Europe and International Ice Hockey Federation have all agreed a 10-year deal with media agencies each worth €500-€900 million. As a lover of volleyball, I simply cannot accept that the CEV’s products are worth less than 10% than those. The implications for this are not just a top-line figure, but rather this will have very strong implications on how the CEV and its National Federations are able develop our sport at a grassroots level.

The length of this contract, 12 years, has also been a criticism I have seen, especially given how fast-moving the media landscape is and how different it will be in 12 years’ time. One of my key priorities is to enhance how we promote our sport, by creating a powerful platform for National Federations to attract the future generations of athletes and fans. To give away comprehensive rights for such a long time unfortunately removes some of the CEV’s abilitiy to make a strong impact here.

But perhaps what concerns me most by this deal is the process in which it has been completed. It has not been explained enough, why the rights for this agreement were not open for tender - I have had several marketing agencies approach me with confusion as to why they were not contacted, especially given the amount that was eventually agreed upon. Also, the information provided to our National Federations has been very limited. In future, we must consider open tenders a key aspect of partnership agreements, not just for reasons of better governance, but because it will lead to better business.

Infront has been a long-time partner for CEV, but I also have to be honest in saying that, for me, this deal represents a missed opportunity for CEV to exploit our full potential. I believe, we can do better.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

As an aside, the Extraordinary General Assembly gave me a great opportunity to meet with many National Federations from across the continent to discuss what steps the CEV should be taking to ensure future progress can be made.

I must say that I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the positive reaction to my candidature. I chose to run for CEV President because I, and many others, want to aim for a new level of ambition, and the messages of support I have received from so many have left me more determined than ever to see this become a reality. I will continue to discuss ideas and gather opinions from all those involved in our great sport, to see how, together, we can take European volleyball to the next level.

As I anticipated, I have also seen some friction towards me, and misinformation spread about me, from those that do not wish to see alternative opinions within the CEV. As I know from my time in politics, especially in my experience as Minister of Justice, fighting for a cause does not come without challenges. Desires for change are often not well-received. I hope that as we progress, all of us within European volleyball can unite and understand the positive aspects that differences of opinion and fresh ideas can bring to our future.

As ever, I encourage all those with questions or comments to please get in touch via my email info@hanno-pevkur.org, and I look forward to continuing the progressive dialogue I have had with so many of you.

With best wishes,

Hanno Pevkur

Pevkur vows to overhaul European volleyball if elected CEV head

February 24, 2020 – Hanno Pevkur has discussed his plans for the CEV Presidency with Sportcal Senior Reporter Susan Lingeswaran. The article is below:

Hanno Pevkur, vice-president of the CEV, the European Volleyball Confederation, has insisted he will bring ‘fresh blood’ into the sport if elected as the next president of the continental governing body, and has pledged to overhaul and modernise the sport to increase its media exposure. The Estonian candidate announced last week he will stand in the presidential election on 19 June in the Russian capital Moscow, in conjunction with the CEV General Assembly.

He is set to go up against current president Aleksandar Boricic, who was elected in 2015. At the end of last year, Boricic announced his plans to run for another four-year term at the helm. Speaking to Sportcal, Pevkur said his decision to run for president was based on the realisation that European volleyball had fallen further behind other European sports and that a new leader was needed to boost its profile and modernise the game. 

The 42-year-old said: “As a previous minister and as a leader, when I see that something is not functioning well then I try to change it. Worldwide, we have twice as many volleyball players as we have basketball players but in Europe you see that we are losing ground to basketball and handball and I don’t like to see that. I love volleyball so much and it needs a new future and we are not doing enough now to push ourselves.

“The main task for volleyball as a whole is to grow and one element to bring in more fans is to have more stars because even though volleyball is well perceived in different countries, you struggle to name two or three world famous players because we have not put emphasis on using Facebook, social media, digital strategy to promote our athletes and our sport. These aren’t new concepts but so far there has been no movement to use them and now we are behind.”

Pevkur has served as CEV vice-president for four years and has been Volleyball Estonia president for eight years. He is also a member of the board of the FIVB, the sport's governing body, and a former leader of Estonia’s Reform political party. He has previously held several ministerial positions but recently said he will leave politics if he is elected CEV president. Pevkur said annual revenues for the CEV are between €15 million ($16 million) and €20 million and that if elected, he would look to create new competition formats to attract broadcasters and increase the number of teams participating in the CEV Champions League, the top clubs competition in Europe. The competition currenly has 20 teams participating.

He said: “We know that one of the biggest challenges for volleyball is the scope of the new needs of the media because all the media companies would like to see that one event is in 90 minutes’ maximum or maybe 120 minutes. Of course we will have to work with the world federation to work out the rules and this might take one or two years but we need to have a good product before we can increase our television visibility.

“At the moment, twice a month you’ll see a snooker competition on Eurosport but you don’t see volleyball and for me, this is very crucial that you have to be visible and when you’re not on the top television stations, then you are not visible. 

“In Europe we have Champions League, CEV Cup and Challenge Cup. Most attractive is the Champions League and from my point of view I would like to see more teams participating, which would give smaller countries an incentive to invest more into volleyball to gain a place in the competition.”

Pevkur said modernising the game would also be key, using innovation to increase fan experience and show off the player’s athletic abilities, adding: “The FIVB just started cooperation with one Israeli company regarding AI to bring more possibilities to show the game. Volleyball is about emotions and when you want to show emotion, you have to use more slow motion cameras, you have to use more technologies that show how great the athletes are.

“This is not just creating an event and hoping that will do it, no, this is constant work, a complete overhaul with fans, the media, with new technologies, new inventions. We see that in television you can see how high top athletes can spike the ball, you can see jump heights, you can see serve speed - this all creates emotion and in sport when people have emotions you can expect you have more people coming to see more and enjoying it more.”

Asked if he would look to in-house talent or agencies to grow European volleyball, Pevkur said as president he would use a range of expertise to create his new vision.

He continued: “I am ready to use every expert there is to achieve this because it’s not even important if it’s a company or employee at this point, I just want to find the best people to help us because a good leader always finds even smarter people around them to achieve their goals.

“If you go to the CEV website, you’ll see there are only two major sponsors, [Japanese sports equipment manufacturer] Mikasa and [Russian bank] Sberbank and we will need to hire very good people in commercial and marketing to find what our biggest issues to do with marketing are and then go to the biggest players in Europe and say ‘Hey, we have a very good product, let’s start promoting this, let’s start using all the digital outlets, and let’s start raising the revenue to at least double or even triple'. 

“The main goal is yes to attract sponsors but you can only attract new sponsors with the understanding that sponsors want to see that the CEV is a well-managed organisation with transparency and good governance.”

Late last year, Infront, the Switzerland-based sports marketing agency, announced an extended and expanded agreement with the CEV for the distribution of media rights to its top competitions. Infront and the CEV are longstanding partners, and the new agreement covers club competitions, including the Champions League, CEV Cup and the Challenge Cup and all CEV Snow Volleyball events from the 2020-21 season onwards. 

Infront also replaces Sportradar for the rights of the Champions League.

The deal is expected to be ratified at next weekend's general assembly, although Pevkur has voiced concern over how the agreement was struck by current president Boricic, and said he would like to see the CEV be more ambitious.

He noted: “I think it is a step forward but my main concern is that it was not done in the best way in terms of governance because yes there was a negotiation between Infront and CEV but the [last] deal with Infront was for eight years and was meant to be over by 2021. At that point I would have liked it to end there and put it out for open tender but at the moment the president decided to come to the board with a new partnership.

“Now the main question is, 'How can we get the maximum out of this contract', because when you take the numbers behind this, we will have had the same contract for 20 years, which is a long time. So 10 years have passed with Infront and 10 years which are coming and we know basketball and handball are getting about €500-900 million and volleyball is getting €100 million for 10 years and in cash, even less, like €7 million per year. I would like to be more ambitious and create a product where we can say that it is either Infront or someone else but we have a public tender to get the best conditions for our volleyball family for the future.”

For the original article, please click here: https://www.sportcal.com/News/Search/130199

Timings for Media Interviews Announced

February 18, 2020 – Following his announcement that he will be standing for the position of CEV President, Hanno Pevkur will be personally available to conduct a series of media interviews later this week.

 

Mr. Pevkur will be available on Friday, February 21st between 10:00-15:00 CET for 20-minute phone interviews in English, German or Russian.

 

For bookings or any other media inquiries please contact:  info@hanno-pevkur.org

Hanno Pevkur announces candidature for President of CEV

February 18, 2020 – Today Hanno Pevkur, announced his intent to run for President of the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV). With years of experience as a player, coach and President of his National Federation in Estonia as well as having served as CEV Vice-President and International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Board Member, Pevkur will now focus his efforts on the future of European volleyball:

“I am so pleased to announce that I will be running for CEV President. I am putting my name forward because I believe that European volleyball has so much untapped potential, and while we have been making some steps forward these last years, we are losing ground to other sports and this cannot continue. I believe that we can do more and that we can do better. Now is the time for European volleyball to create a new future, one with new ambitions and new standards. The future is now!”

 

Hanno Pevkur, who served in the Estonian Government as Minister of Social Affairs 2009-12, Minister of Justice 2012-14 and Minister of the Interior 2014-16 is looking to renew the management of CEV:

 

“Times are changing and CEV needs to modernise and adapt to the increased demand for clarity from all sides, as well as take advantage of new opportunities coming our way. Only then will the CEV become an attractive partner for governments, sponsors, fans and the media; only then can we grow the commercial strength and popularity of our sport across Europe”.