This year’s European volleyball championship is inline (unfortunately – in my humble opinion) with the organizational trends, promoted recently by European federations of popular team sports. They will take place in four countries with a bit strange geographical configuration: in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and … Slovenia.
For fans who would like to attend the tournament, this may be a hindrance. A small crib is in front of you, which will help you during the organization of the trip to this championship.
Eurovolley 2019, basic information
The tournament will take place between 12-29 September.
In 9 cities, in 4 countries:
France: Montpellier, Nantes, and Paris, Belgium: Brussels and Antwerp, Netherlands: Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Apeldoorn, Slovenia: Ljubljana.
It’s always easiest and most obvious to organize the trip for the group phase. There is already a full match schedule with time available here.
Eighth and Quarter- Finals
One-eighth and one-quarter of the finals will take place between September 21 and 24 (Saturday-Tuesday) in Nantes, Antwerp, Ljubljana, and Apeldoorn. It is also known that if the organizer gets into this phase of the tournament, eight-final (1/8) will play at home. Quarterfinals (1/4) will be played in the same hall where the teams played eight-final (1/8). That is, two matches 1/8 and one 1/4 in each of the cities mentioned.
Group A connects with group C, group B and with D, in the standard way, the winner of the group with the fourth team: A1 with C4, A2 with C3, B4 with D1, etc.
The final weekend plan has also been modified. Only two years ago, the semi-finals were played on Saturday, medal matches on Sunday. This time it’s rather a long weekend, starting with one semifinal already on Thursday, 26/09 in Ljubljana. The second semi-final is scheduled for Friday, 27/09, but in … Paris. There will also be a game for a bronze medal (on Saturday) and a match for gold (on Sunday) in Paris.
How to buy tickets
Tickets are available to buy on four different websites, depending on the country. Links lead to these websites (under flags) from here.
Prices range between EUR 5-30 for group matches, and for matches of 1/8 and 1/4 from 20 EUR.
Semi-final in Slovenia costs 18-30 EUR, semi-final in Paris from 28 EUR. The match for bronze is a bit cheaper than the semi-finals, and the final match costs 40-150 EUR, depending on the category.
You can, of course, buy also more expensive VIP tickets and family and team packages for the games of a given team.
The good news is that tickets for almost all matches are still available (report from the end of July), even for the final, as well as for the group matches of Poles.
The biggest problem is the purchase of tickets for the game between Poland and the host, Holland, only few tickets have been left.
Polish team games
Polish volleyball team matches (group D) will be played in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, starting (certainly with lucky ending;) on Friday, 13 September, with the match against Estonia.
Rotterdam: Estonia- Poland, 13.09, 17:00
Netherlands- Poland, 15.09, 16:00
Poland- Czech Republic, 16.09, 20:00
Amsterdam: Montenegro- Poland, 17.09, 17:00
Poland- Ukraine, 19.09, 20:00
Of course, in sport, nothing is ever certain, but looking objectively at the above rivals, we can predict the knockout phase.
From each group, four teams will be promoted, and group D joins with group B, so the rivals of Polish players in the eight-finals will be one of these teams: Serbia, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, Belgium, Austria.
Group B matches will be played in Belgium, which means that, depending on the table layout, Poles their 1/8 and 1/4 games will play in Belgium or the Netherlands. So the fans will easily be able to move.
When it comes to the semi-final, it may not be this close trip anymore. It looks like the winner of the quarterfinals played in Dutch Apeldoorn will have to move to the semi-finals to Ljubljana.
Details here, although, not very readable.
How to get there
I have described the possibilities of transport to Ljubljana earlier, click here.
Belgium and the Netherlands are quite easily accessible via road transport.
And when it comes to air transport, we have good connections of standard lines, KLM flies directly to Amsterdam from Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk and Wrocław.
You can also use LOT and AirFrance.
When it comes to low-cost lines to the Netherlands, the best is to fly to Eindhoven. Both Ryanair and Wizzair offer flights from many cities in Poland and all over Europe. There is a direct bus from the airport to Amsterdam, the journey takes about two hours and costs 25 euros. A similar bus goes to Rotterdam. The second option is to reach city center by bus and take a train to both cities.
Both companies also fly to both airports in Brussels (from Warsaw, Cracow and Wroclaw).
To Paris you can get with Ryanair from Wrocław, from Gdańsk and Poznań by Wizzair, and from Krakow by Easyjet (in this case you will reach the main airport of the French capital).
Connection between semi-finals
Supporters who want to see both semi-finals do not have many transport possibilities between Ljubljana and Paris. Slovenia is poorly connected by low-cost airlines, so it will be only standard airlines:
Adria Airways at 7 o’clock or Airfrance – this plane lands at 17:10, so the road from the airport will be in a light rush (match on Friday is at 20:45). You can possibly also take Lufthansa flight with a change.
All these options are not the cheapest, currently the price is about 150 EUR.
The championship will be held in 9 cities, but in as many as 10 halls, as two arenas will be used in Antwerp. Lotto Arena during the group stage and Sportpaleis during the 1/8 and 1/4. This situation is rather rare. Probably this is due to the number of places, as in the first there are around 5,000 seats available for sporting events. In the second, as many as 18,000! Sportpaleis was put into operation as early as 1933, and renovated and enlarged in 2013. According to the rankings, it is the second most visited hall in the world. Mainly due to concerts, because sports events do not take place there too often. In May 2019, the hall hosted the Final Four basketball champions league.
Paleis 12 in Brussels is also a large hall that can accommodate up to 15,000 spectators. A similar capacity has the Rotterdam Ahoy hall, the other two Dutch halls are smaller, 3,000-5,000, so they seem quite small for such an event.
However, three French arenas in terms of the number of fans are definitely the right size and have already hosted similar events, such as the 2017 handball world championship. Nantes Parc de Expositions has over 10,000 seats for fans, and Montpellier Sud Arena around 9,000.
The best-known hall is, of course, the Parisian Accorhotels Arena (Bercy Arena), in which medal matches will be played. Its capacity during the volleyball match is 15 600. The hall is already declared as the official arena of the Olympic Games in 2024.
Last but not least, Slovenian Arena Stožice has a capacity of 12,500 spectators. The hall has already hosted major sports events such as UEFA Futsal in 2018 and EuroBasket in 2013.
This time I will not dicuss places that are worth seeing between games. With so many (and such!) cities, it’s more a material for a book, not part of a blog post;)
I hope that I managed familiarize you with the formula of this year’s championships, because it’s a bit complicated in this edition. Are you planning to go?