British Volleyball Federation

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British Volleyball Federation
TypeNational sports governing body
Legal statusPrivate company limited by guarantee without share capital (06651480)
PurposeBritish volleyball teams in the Olympics
Region served
British volleyball players
Richard Callicott MBE
Main organ
British Volleyball Board (President - Richard Callicott)
AffiliationsFédération Internationale de Volleyball, Confédération Européenne de Volleyball, British Olympic Association, Scottish Volleyball Association, Northern Ireland Volleyball Association, Volleyball England, Volleyball Wales
WebsiteBritish Volleyball
Formerly called
Amateur Volleyball Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The British Volleyball Federation is the national sports governing for volleyball participation by UK in the Olympics for men and women. Britain has not participated in indoor volleyball at the Olympics before.


Like basketball, volleyball originated from Springfield College in the USA. A student of Canadian James Naismith, William G. Morgan, wanted a less energetic game for older sportsmen in 1895. It appeared at the Olympics in 1964 at Tokyo.

Beach volleyball first appeared in the 1920s at Santa Monica, and as an Olympic sport in 1996.


The BVF was formed as the Amateur Volleyball Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1955. It was revived in 1980 as the British Volleyball Federation, and registered as a company on 21 July 2008.

It ran annual competitions between teams from the Home Nations from 1985-1991. In 1990 it appointed a full-time coach. In late 1992, it developed the idea of opening a national training centre for team volleyball at Sheffield. It would be the first team sport in Britain to have such a centre.

It was planned for Britain to send a Great Britain volleyball team to the Olympics in 1992. This never occurred. International competitions have been represented for Britain by Home Nation teams. British volleyball was not funded well in the 1990s. The London Olympic Games and Paralympics set goals for Volleyball, Beach Volley and Sitting Volleyball and GBR representation. An intense programme of 5 years with UK Sport funding brought GBR teams to the point of qualification as Hosts. UKSport reduced funding to BVF and insisted on de-funding the Women's Indoor and Men's Beach programmes. Notwithstanding this all 6 disciplines played on and met the credibility threshold set by the British Olympic Association (NOC) and proudly took the courts in August 2012 at earls Court, Horseguards Parade and the ExCel Centre. See more

The British Volleyball Federation continues to lead and focus on elite representation for the UK in all six volleyball team disciplines in the Olympic and Paralympic movement. In common with many other GBR Olympic sports the funding from the current government sports agency ukSport has been minimal for preparations to achieve qualification for the Rio Games of 2016. Notwithstanding this BVF continues to press forward with the support of the World and European authorities (FIVB and CEV).

Beach volleyball[edit]

Introduced at the 1996 Olympics, the two women that Britain had of any calibre, Audrey Cooper (aged 31) and Amanda Glover (aged 25), had to train in Amsterdam as Britain had no court for beach volleyball. They qualified that year to reach the Olympics. This was the first time that Britain had ever qualified for volleyball in the Olympics, having qualified in March 1996. They had practised on Bournemouth beach.

Funding for courts in Britain was a problem because the BVF was funded by the Sports Council, and because of this could not apply for a lottery grant. It was a purely bureaucratic obstacle. Don Anthony was the main person in British volleyball at the time. Beach volleyball was not treated seriously by mainstream sportspeople.


It was headquartered at the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield in the runup to the 2012 London Games and was sponsored by Vertex. Training for both men's and women's teams took place at Sheffield and Beach Pairs abroad. Since the 2012 Games, BVF has downsized and its administration is supported at Loughborough by the Volleyball England staff. Ms Alla Main assumed Presidency in January 2014 see News


It administers the British Olympic teams in the following sports


Patrick G Murphy, journalist, President NIVA and Board member BVF 1980 to date.

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