European medallists of the Rio Olympics and this summer’s World Championships are all ready to rock. The draw for the first phase will be held on 30 September in Rome.
No big names will be missing from the initial edition of the LEN Europa Cup, a new water polo competition which is designed to become a true world-class series featuring the best teams and players. Europe is absolutely the dominant force in the world of water polo: apart from the US women’s team, all medals went to the teams from the Old Continent in all major events since 2013, including three World Championships and the Olympics in Rio.
And all those teams having made the podium will take part in the Europa Cup, which offers premium entertainment over the course of three weekends for sport-lovers. Just to list a few: in the men’s tourney Olympic champion Serbia, World champion Croatia, world silver medallist Hungary, Olympic silver medallist Italy and European runner-up Montenegro all signed up to play. The cup will see a preliminary stage with three groups of four, then the Top Eight (two groups of four) and a Super Final (four teams, round-robin tournament).
“LEN’s ambition is to develop water polo and more especially its top competitions,” LEN President Paolo Barelli said on the new series. “We agreed with the national federations that in order to achieve that goal we need excellent conditions in terms of venues, organisation, host cities, media facilities and the overall service to the teams, officials and spectators is also highly important.”
The LEN President underlined that the playing format would serve the team’s interests as it doesn’t require much travelling just because of a single match, instead they can play three great games on one site while the fans can enjoy top-level water polo for three days with two encounters on a daily basis.
“This would also offer a unique opportunity for the host federations to make great promotion, perhaps land special sponsorship deals and increase the popularity of water polo through the live TV coverage” Paolo Barelli added. “LEN will share the revenues with the participating federations and we also offer travel subsidies for the teams.”
The draw for the group stage will be held in Rome (Ostia) on 30 September on the occasion of a LEN Bureau meeting. The opening round is scheduled for 17-19 November in the men’s competition while the women will begin their quest on 24-26 November.