How to qualify for the Beach Volleyball World Championships 2017

Alison/Bruno are aiming for back-to-back titlesAlison/Bruno are aiming for back-to-back titles

Our guide to understanding how teams qualify for this summer’s showpiece in Vienna

The 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, presented by A1, in Vienna will see the best teams in the world per gender go toe-to-toe on the sand for one of the biggest prizes in the sport.

The winners will be crowned world champions and go down in beach volleyball history at what promises to be biggest world championships event since the first took place in Los Angeles in 1997.

So how exactly do the world’s best get the chance to strut their stuff on the sand in one of the world’s most beautiful cities? Just read our Q&A to find out…

How many teams will take part?

A simple answer to a simple question: 48 teams per gender. That’s a total of 96 teams and 192 individual players. That’s a lot of stars and a lot of organizing!

Which of the top teams will qualify?

Good question. If teams have enjoyed a good season, storming to gold after gold during the Swatch Major Series, for example, and have won enough ranking points to be among the FIVB’s top 23 teams in the Athletes Entry Ranking, then they will qualify automatically.

Nice – but what if they’re all Brazilian? How many teams per country can take part?

While fans might love 10 Brazilian, American or Austrian teams at the tournament, that is simply not fair on the rest of the world, is it? And it is the World Championships after all. So, with that in mind, the rules state that no more than four teams from one country can take part in each gender. And yes, that could mean some top teams from Brazil or the USA miss out – so the heat is on in qualification to build up those ranking points…

How many teams will receive a wildcard?

Three teams per gender will be given a wildcard entry into the World Championships. One of these is a team chosen by the organizers, while the FIVB, the governing body of the sport, decides the two remaining spots. Criteria to be granted a wildcard varies and is commonly based on, for example, promotional aspects, technical merits and the athletes’ career. Hey, Misty May-Treanor could make a comeback – and having won the title three times – you’d give her a wildcard, right…?

Laura and Kira hope to win their first World Championship titleLaura and Kira hope to win their first World Championship title

As hosts, do Austria receive any qualification benefits?

Absolutely. As Vienna will become the capital of beach volleyball for 10 days during the competition, two teams per gender from Austria will be eligible to qualify for the tournament.

Ok, so that’s 28 teams taken care of – how are the remaining 20 partnerships picked for Vienna?

The remaining 20 spots in the tournament are decided by the five continental confederations: Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and North and Central American (including the Caribbean). In each confederation, teams will take part in qualification with four teams progressing to the World Championships.

Excellent – so the whole world will be represented in Vienna?

Yes! However, competition for places at each individual confederation tournament is tough. It would take us another 2,000 words to explain how teams qualify through this method, but the FIVB have explained it perfectly well here

For an updated list of nations who have qualified already, please click here.