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Features

Sky boxes to the fore as King of the Court returns elite beach volleyball

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced that its Beach Volleyball World Tour will return with the innovative ‘King of the Court’ tournament in the Dutch city of Utrecht on September 9-12, with the event to be staged using an eye-catching stadium concept.

The first international sports event on Dutch soil since the outbreak of COVID-19 will be played on the Jaarbeursplein square in Utrecht. Sports events agency Sportworx, which organises King of the Court in collaboration with the FIVB and the Dutch Volleyball Federation, has presented plans for the venue, which is designed to provide an innovative approach to guaranteeing social distancing rules during the pandemic.

The entire stadium will consist of sky boxes constructed from building materials. The sky boxes are available for between two to 10 people and will need to be reserved in advance.

The last event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour was in early March in Doha, Qatar. FIVB president Ary Graça said: “In these challenging times, this tournament in the Netherlands will be the first international FIVB-sanctioned competition since the start of the global pandemic.

“And we welcome the efforts of the organisers and the Dutch government in hosting the event but also ensuring the health and well-being of the athletes and all other participants.”

A total of 30 teams per gender participate in King of the Court, which was founded in 2017. The court is divided into a winner’s side and a challenger side. Points can only be scored on the winner’s side. The game has many differences when compared to regular beach volleyball. For example, five teams are active simultaneously instead of two, playing under time rules in an elimination race.

In 2018, Sportworx organised the first international King of the Court tour of four tournaments, in Utrecht, Antwerp, Hawaii and California, with the long-term ambition to make the discipline part of volleyball at the Olympic Games.

Graça added: “The project presents beach volleyball in a completely different format, and I believe it has great potential. We will continue to bring new concepts and ideas to the sport to ensure the best possible experience for both the athletes and spectators.

“The positive feedback we have received so far from the players and all the other stakeholders proves the importance of the series. King of the Court provides more opportunities for athletes to play in a very exciting and competitive competition format.”

Images: FIVB