No relegation in 2024 and no more core and challenger teams as of next year
The Volleyball Nations League will expand to 18 teams per gender as of 2025 and the participants will no longer be divided into core and challenger teams.
No team will be relegated at the end of the VNL 2024 season, while the winners of the 2024 Volleyball Challenger Cup and the highest-placed teams in the FIVB Men’s and Women’s Volleyball World Ranking not yet qualified will join the VNL 2025 action.
As of the 2025 edition, the core and challenger team statuses will be abolished and the bottom-placed team in the competition’s final standings in each gender will be relegated, to be replaced by the respective highest-ranked team in the world for the following VNL season.
With the expanded number of participating teams, there will be a new structure of the Preliminary Phase schedule. What will remain the same as now is that each participating team will play 12 matches spread across three competition weeks. However, there will be three pools per week played at three different venues with six teams each. The number of competition days will be reduced from six to five per week.
The players will also benefit from an additional week of rest. There will be no VNL competition for either gender during the week after the second competition week in the men’s tournament.
In this new format, a total of 216 matches will take place during the Preliminary Phase, which brings the total number of games per season to 232, including the quarterfinals, the semifinals and the medal matches in both genders. There will be no change in the format of the Final Rounds.
Only the 2028 edition will feature a yet-to-be-determined condensed format to align with the Los Angeles Olympic Games.
These changes, involving an extended VNL footprint around the world, a more streamlined competition schedule, additional recovery and preparation time for the teams, and greater commercial potential, are expected to enhance the VNL experience for athletes, fans, host cities and all other stakeholders alike. The aim is to ensure the VNL remains a world-class spectacle through continued improvements to the fan experience both on TV and in person.
The top teams on the planet will battle in the last major event before the Paris Olympics from May 14 to June 30.
The 16 women’s and men’s national teams that will compete in the Volleyball Nations League 2024 are now aware of when and against which opponent their campaigns in the sixth edition of the tournament will start as the event’s match schedule has been unveiled.
The VNL 2024 will go from May 14 to June 30, with 104 matches in each gender taking place across nine different countries in what is going to be the last major international tournament before the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The first match of the VNL 2024 will reunite the women’s teams of Bulgaria and the Netherlands, which will meet in Antalya, Türkiye, on May 14, at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT). The next day in the Turkish city will be filled with remarkable matches too, with France playing their first-ever VNL match against Germany, at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT), three hours before reigning champions Türkiye and MVP Melissa Vargas start their title defense against Asian powerhouse Japan.
Tokyo Olympic silver medallists Brazil will also be at home in the opening week of the VNL 2024, with the likes of Gabriela ‘Gabi’ Guimaraes and Thaisa Menezes hosting seven national teams at the iconic Maracanãzinho, in Rio de Janeiro, and will have a pair of tough matches, facing Olympic champions the United States on May 17, at 21:00 local time (00:00 GTM), and reigning world champions Serbia two days later, at 10:00 local time (13:00 GMT).
The second week of action for the women will be held in Macau, China, and Arlington, the United States. The Asian city will be the stage for the highly-anticipated continental duel between Thailand and China, which is scheduled for June 1, at 19:30 local time (11:30 GMT), while fans at the American city will be gifted with the encounter involving USA and Türkiye, on June 2, at 15:00 local time (20:00 GMT).
The end of the Preliminary Phase for the women will be in Asia, with Japan and Hong Kong, China, hosting the matches. Still looking to qualify for the Paris Olympics, Italy and new head coach Julio Velasco will be in Japan and will have a critical match against Tijana Boskovic-led Serbia on June 16. In Hong Kong, the most-anticipated duel will feature Türkiye and Brazil, on the same day, at 17:00 local time (9:00 GMT).
Olympic champions France will be on the court for the opening match of the VNL 2024 for the men, as Earvin Ngapeth and his teammates will face Bulgaria in an all-European duel held in Antalya on May 21, at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT). Three hours later, hosts Türkiye will start their first VNL campaign against Canada. Antalya will also see the debut of defending champions Poland, who will be on the court for the first time on May 22, at 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT), against the United States.
In the first week, the men will also be playing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where captain Bruno Rezende and his compatriots will play Italy in a rematch of last year’s Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament encounter that qualified the South Americans for the Paris Games – the match will be held on May 26, at 10:00 local time (13:00 GMT).
Japan and the Canadian city of Ottawa will welcome the second week of action for the men. Led by captain Yuki Ishikawa, the Asians, who last year won their first-ever VNL medal, taking bronze, will play on the first day of matches, June 4, meeting continental rivals Iran, at 19:20 local time (10:20 GMT). In Canada, one of the most exciting matches should be the one between France and Italy, set to take place on June 5, at 20:00 local time (00:00 June 6, GMT).
After enormous success in 2023, the Philippines will host a pool again this year and one of the matches scheduled to be held in Manila is the one between Japan and the United States, on June 23, at 19:00 local time (11:00 GMT). The Slovenian capital Ljubljana will also be a host city in 2024 and will be the stage of the match involving the home team and Italy on June 22, at 20:30 local time (18:30 GMT).
The VNL 2024 will also play a major role in determining the last national teams that will qualify for the Paris Olympics. The result of each match of the tournament’s Preliminary Phase will impact the FIVB Volleyball World Rankings, which will determine the teams to occupy the last five spots in this year’s Games.
The race is on for the remaining Olympic spots which will be decided after the Preliminary Phase of the tournament.
The Volleyball Nations League (VNL) will once again get the national team volleyball season underway in 2024. In its sixth edition, the event will start earlier than usual, with the women’s competition beginning on 14 May and the men’s tournament on 21 May.
Additionally, with five Olympic Games Paris 2024 tickets per gender still up for grabs, the VNL Preliminary Phase will serve as the final opportunity for teams to accumulate vital FIVB World Ranking points. It is set to be a hotly contested competition, as teams strive not only to secure their spot in the Olympics but also to pursue success in the VNL and build momentum before the Games.
The VNL will feature 16 women’s and 16 men’s elite national teams competing in the Preliminary Phase for one of seven available spots in the VNL Finals, which will be hosted in Łódź, Poland for the men’s finals. The host of the VNL Women’s Finals will be announced at a later stage.
In each gender, the Preliminary Phase will consist of six eight-team pools spread across three competition weeks at six different venues. Each team will play a total of 12 games, accruing wins and points towards the overall standings, contributing towards advancement to the Finals. Each Final Round will consist of quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches.
Women’s VNL 2024
Paris 2024 Olympic hosts France earned the right to participate in the women’s VNL 2024 for the first time, after their triumph at the VCC 2023. They will join another four challenger teams – Bulgaria, Canada, the Dominican Republic and 2023 bronze medalists Poland – as well as the 11 core teams – three-time champions and reigning Olympic champions the USA, 2022 winners Italy, 2023 winners Türkiye, 2023 runners-up China, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Serbia and Thailand – in the 2024 edition of the competition.
Champions Türkiye will start the defense of their title in front of the home fans in Antalya. The other pool of the first competition week, from 14 to 19 May, will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Then, Macau in China and Arlington, Texas in the USA will set the stage for the pools of the second competition week from 28 May to 2 June. Finally, Hong Kong in China and a Japanese venue that will be announced at a later stage will welcome the deciding third competition week battles from 11 to 16 June.
The Finals will be played from 20 to 23 June.
Men’s VNL 2024
Türkiye will make their men’s VNL debut after winning the VCC in 2023.
VNL 2021 winners Brazil, 2022 winners and reigning Olympic champions France, 2023 medalists Poland, the USA and Japan, as well as Argentina, Germany, Iran, Italy and Serbia, are the core teams who are set to fight for the spots in the 2024 Finals.
The men’s competition will serve off on 21 May, also in Antalya and Rio de Janeiro. The first competition week will last through 26 May. The VNL will then travel to the Canadian capital Ottawa and a Japanese city to be announced at a later stage for the second competition week from 4 to 9 June. The fans in the capitals of Slovenia and the Philippines – Ljubljana and Manila, respectively – will enjoy the opportunity to witness the third competition week matches live.
The VNL Men’s Finals will begin on 27 June in Łódź, Poland. The medal matches will be played on 30 June. Besides the Polish, will compete in the VNL 2024 Finals the seven best national teams in the Preliminary Phase. The VNL Finals will be held in a single elimination format, starting with the quarterfinals and ending with the medal matches.
The Volleyball Nations League 2024 will take the elite of international volleyball to nine countries and four continents during six weeks from May to June, when the Preliminary Phase of the sixth edition of the tournament will take place.
The top 16 female and male national teams in the planet will compete in Asia, Europe, North America and South America before the best eight in each gender battle for titles in the VNL Finals. The women will play from June 20-23 and the men from June 27-30, just a few weeks before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympics, in cities yet to be determined.
Besides the host cities (venues will be announced soon), the composition of the six men’s and women’s pools for the Preliminary Phase was also announced, setting up some exciting duels between the top national teams in every corner of the globe.
The women will be the first to get on the court, competing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Antalya, Türkiye, from May 14-19. One week later, the men will start their campaigns at the same locations.
From Europe and South America, the VNL 2024 will head to Asia and North America. The women will play in Macau and Arlington, Texas, USA (the host city of last year’s VNL Finals), from May 28-June 2, with the men battling in Japan (with the host city to be confirmed), and Ottawa, Canada, from June 4-9.
The Preliminary Phase will come to an end for the women from June 11-16, with pools hosted in Hong Kong and Japan. In the following week, the men will complete their schedules in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Manila, the Philippines.
The top seven teams in each gender will advance to the VNL Finals, as well as the host countries.
The 16 women’s national teams competing in the VNL 2024 will be Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Thailand, defending champions Türkiye and the United States.
The men’s title will be contested by Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, defending champions Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Türkiye and the United States.
Olympic Spots in Play
The VNL 2024 will also play a major role in determining the last national teams that will qualify for the Paris Olympics. The result of each match of the tournament’s Preliminary Phase will impact the FIVB Volleyball World Rankings, which will determine the teams to occupy the last five spots in next year’s Games.
As of now, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Poland and the United States are guaranteed on the men’s side while Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Poland, Serbia, Türkiye and the United States have qualified among the women – host country France will also be represented on both genders.