Volleyball History



  • Volleyball is born at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts, by William G. Morgan, a New Yorker born in 1870.


  • Another American, Alfred T. Halstead, proposes “volleyball” as a more appropriate name for the sport instead of the original “Mintonette”.


  • Canada adopts volleyball for its recreational programmes.


  • Franklin H. Brown introduces volleyball in Japan.


  • Volleyball is adopted at the first Far Eastern Games in Manila, Philippines.


  • Beach volleyball, a descendant of volleyball, begins life on the beaches of Waikiki beach in Hawaii, USA.


  • Introduction of six-a-side volleyball.


  • The three hits per side rule is adopted.
  • The first known volleyball and basketball association is created in Czechoslovakia.


  • The American Volleyball Association is created. The first USA National Volleyball Championships are played at the Brooklyn Central YMCA.


  • Men’s volleyball is adopted at the second Central American and Caribbean Games in Havana, Cuba.


  • The first two-man beach volleyball game is played in Santa Monica, California.


  • Women’s volleyball is played at the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador.


  • The first volleyball international committee is created under the Field Handball Federation.


  • Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, USA, USSR and Romania set up the first Autonomous Volleyball Commission.


  • The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is founded by 14 National Federations in Paris and elects Paul Libaud as its first President. The founders are Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Uruguay, USA and Yugoslavia.


  • First Men’s European Championship is held in Rome, Italy.


  • The International Olympic Committee adopts volleyball as a non Olympic sport.
  • First Men’s World Championship in Prague.
  • First Women’s European Championship in Prague.
  • Introduction of the three player attack and the penetration of the back court setter.


  • Hands can pass over the net under certain conditions (block).


  • First Women’s World Championship held in Moscow.


  • Volleyball enters the programme of the second Pan American Games in Mexico City.


  • Men’s and Women’s World Championships are held together for the first time in Paris with 24 men’s and 17 women’s teams.


  • IOC Session in Sofia recognises volleyball as an Olympic sport and the FIVB as the sole worldwide volleyball governing body in all its disciplines on September 24.


  • IOC Sessions and Japan OCOG in Athens add volleyball to the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.


  • First Olympic volleyball competitions for men and women are held in Tokyo.
  • Adoption of the new blocking rule (hands over the net, block multiple contacts allowed).


  • The first Men’s World Cup is held in Warsaw, Poland.


  • The first Women’s World Cup is held in Uruguay.


  • Men’s and Women’s World Championships are broadcast on live TV from Mexico to Japan and many other countries for the first time.


  • Africa Women’s Championships start in Dakar, Senegal.


  • Olympic Games are played in Montreal for the first time with the three-ball system and three hits after the block are permitted.
  • Width of the net is reduced to nine metres.


  • First Junior (U21) Men’s andWomen’s World Championships are held in Brazil.


  • First FIVB Rules of the Game are adopted in French and Spanish at Moscow Congress.


  • The first major Volleyball World Plan is approved to bring volleyball into the professional sports arena.
  • The first World Gala is held in Beijing and Shanghai with China Women’s Olympic champions facing the All Star World team.


  • The first Club World Championship for men takes place in Parma, Italy while the Boys’ and Girls’ Youth World Championships makes their debut in the United Arab Emirates and Brazil respectively.
  • The Beach Volleyball FIVB World Series for men is launched.


  • First Men’s World League with eight countries and $1 million in prize money.


  • The first Women’s Club World Championship is held in São Paulo, Brazil.


  • Beach Volleyball FIVB World Series is recreated as a World Tour for both men and women to determine the world champions (men and women). Events are held in Japan, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Italy and Australia.


  • First World Grand Champions Cup for men and women is held in Japan.
  • The first women’s World Grand Prix with eight countries and $1 million in prize money is held in eight Asian cities.
  • IOC Session in Monte Carlo includes beach volleyball in the 1996 Olympic Games programme as a full medal discipline for women (16 pairs) and men (24 pairs).


  • The ball can touch any part of the body including the feet. The service zone is extended to the full outline.


  • Volleyball celebrates its 100th birthday.


  • Beach volleyball makes its debut in the Atlanta Olympic Games.


  • The first Beach Volleyball World Championships in its current (double gender) format are held in Los Angeles, USA with total prize money of $600,000 for both genders.
  • The eighth edition of the World League increases its prize money to $8 million.


  • The Rally Point System and libero are officially accepted and played at the World Championships in Tokyo, following the 26th FIVB World Congress.


  • The Rally Point System is extended to beach volleyball. The rule allowing play to continue when a serve hits the net and continues to the opposition court is adopted.
  • Karch Kiraly of the USA, Lorenzo Bernardi of Italy and three-time Olympic champion Regla Torres of Cuba are celebrated as best players of the century.


  • The Beach Volleyball Junior World Championships make their debut in Le Lavandou, France.


  • The FIVB World Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina introduces a height limit to competitions (185cm for men, 175cm for women).
  • The Beach Volleyball Youth World Championships are held for the first time in Xylokastro, Greece.


  • The FIVB Men’s Club World Championship returns to the international volleyball calendar after last featuring in 1992.


  • Volleyball is a huge success at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
  • The FIVB Women’s Club World Championship also makes its return to the calendar for the first time since 1994 following the successful reincarnation of the men’s event a year earlier.
  • The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Continental Cup makes its debut as a new qualifying event for beach volleyball at the London 2012 Olympic Games with record breaking levels of participation.


  • Following extensive trialling, a new point allocation system was confirmed by the FIVB Board of Administration for all competitions where matches which are won 3-0 or 3-1 will see the winners come away with three points and the losers zero, and those won 3-2 mean the winners come away with two points and the losers one. In the event of a tie in the group, the teams will be separated on set ratio as opposed to points ratio as in the past. Additionally, in the case of tie in the number of points, sides are divided by number of wins, the set ratio (as opposed to points ratio in the past), then points ratio.


  • The FIVB amends uniform regulations for female beach volleyball players, giving athletes three extra choices. Players can wear shorts of a maximum length of 3cm above the knee with sleeved or sleeveless tops or a full body suit. This is to respect the customs and/ or religious beliefs of countries. Previously there were two uniform choices for female players, a one-piece bathing suit or a bikini with a maximum side width of 7cm. A full body suit could also be used under the bikini in cold weather.


  • The FIVB includes a new championship to the age group tournaments – the Under 23 Volleyball and Beach Volleyball Championships – in order to reduce the gap between age group and senior level volleyball. It is also the first year that the Video Challenge System is used, in the World League and World Grand Prix Finals.
  • The Beach Volleyball World Cup Final brings to a close the incredibly successful first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Continental Cup cycle, featuring the Continental champions and countries who qualified teams for the Olympic Games.
  • In a new and enhanced World Tour, Grand Slams are clearly established as the core events while the number of Open events is expanded for the year, giving teams more opportunities to participate.


  • The FIVB World League and World Grand Prix are expanded once again with both tournaments including 28 teams for the first time illustrating volleyball’s growing global appeal.
  • The 34th FIVB World Congress is held in Sardinia, Italy with a record 210 national federations represented.
  • The FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014 are a huge success, with 62,000 fans attending the first match in Warsaw Stadium. The hosts go on to win their first crown in 40 years.
  • The United States win the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 in Milan later the same year, with legendary volleyball and beach volleyball star Karch Kiraly leading them as coach.
  • The challenge system is rolled out and included in all FIVB volleyball tournaments.
  • The FIVB turns a corner in terms of innovation, promising to focus more on making the game more modern through the use of technology.


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