(ATR) Ary Graca makes history as the fourth president of the International Volleyball Federation – and the first to be democratically elected.
The Brazilian and South American Volleyball Confederation chief edged Doug Beal of the U.S. and Chris Schacht of Australia in a secret paper ballot conducted late Friday at the close of the 33rd FIVB World Congress in Anaheim, California.
The final tally was 15 votes for Schacht, 86 for Beal and 103 for Graca, who was advised by VERO Communications.
Two of the 206 votes cast inside Disneyland Hotel were ruled null and void – both were for Graca.
Had either Schacht or Beal received a single vote more, Schacht would have fallen out of the running, and an additional round of voting would have been required to determine a winner.
Graca, previously an FIVB executive vice president, succeeds Jizhong Wei of China, who took over from longtime FIVB boss Ruben Acostain 2008 and said from day one he would not seek reelection.
"I am truly delighted to have been elected to this esteemed position and it is a huge honor to be chosen as president of the FIVB in its first-ever democratic election," said Graca.
"I am deeply motivated and passionate about volleyball and beach volleyball, and I believe that I can help make a difference to the future of the sport. I look forward to working with my colleagues to collaborate on ideas, share expertise and experience and together build a brighter and better future for the world of volleyball."
Among the highlights of Graca's 12-point election manifesto are to increase exposure of the sport, especially among digital media channels; to better integrate the international volleyball family; and to ensure the continued growth of the game through innovation.
"We must teach how to fish, not give fish," he said in his 15-minute presentation prior to the ballot, stressing the development of the FIVB's smaller Level 1 and Level 2 member federations.
"It is about sport for sport. I have already exchanged many ideas with different federations with the Brazil federation. There must be a significant transfer of knowledge.
"If we can do it in South America, if we can do it in Brazil, we can do it anywhere," he added.
"Help me to help you."
In other voting, Marta Centeno of Guatemala and IOC member Rita Subowo of Indonesia stood unopposed for the two minority gender seats on the FIVB’s ruling Board of Administration and were elected by acclamation.Vilja Savisaar-Toomast of Estonia withdrew her candidacy earlier Friday.
The new-look Board will now meet post-election to consider Graca’s proposals for his 1st executive vice president, 2nd executive vice president and treasurer.
Stay tuned to Around the Rings for further reaction to the vote ...
Reported by Matthew Grayson
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