The campaign for the CEV Champions League starts at the beginning of October for the reigning Champions of England. The encounter, in the prestigious competition, is against the Champions of Belorus Shakhtior Soligorsk and will take place in Poland. Due to the restrictions resulting from the pandemic, the dual encounter will take place at a „neutral” venue which has been declared as the home of PGE Skra in Belchatow. The final test before the official competition begins for IBB Polonia London will be against PGE Skra Belchatow. This will be the moment that both clubs announce their roster for the 2021/22 season.
Vangelis Koutouleas’ players are reaching the climax of their preparations for the first encounter in the Champions League competition. The stay in Belchatow as the guests of PGE Skra has resulted in full use of the local club’s infrastructure and facilities, and the period of stay will culminate in the friendly game. Apart from daily training, strength and conditioning sessions, IBB Polonia London have played a number of control games to test the squad and to allow the coaching staff to experiment with a variety of options. Matches against Czestochowa, Wieluń and Berlin have been the opponents over the past few weeks. The next step is against the TorunńAngles and PGE Skra.
The official announcement of both 2021/22 rosters will take place at the start of the match against PGE Skra at the world famous “Energy hall” in Bełchatów on 30th September. Fans are able to attend the game for free, and will no doubt prove to be an outstanding spectacle to mark the return of fans to a live match of the very highest order. Media, fans and partners will be able to receive the information required very soon. Those unable to attend in person, will be able to watch the match on the social media of either club.
The game against PGE Skra will be the final stage for the Londoners before the start of the Champions League. It will be ideal preparation as the official games will also take place at the same venue: The Energy Hall in Bełchatów. Originally the games were scheduled for the Copper Box, London, but due to various restriction still in place as a result of the pandemic, the game cannot take place in England. As a result, the CEV and both clubs managed to come up with the perfect solution; the European Federation agreed to the game taking place at a neutral venue, and Bełchatów was the solution. The solution was only possible because of the incredible generosity and help from the partner club PGE Skra Bełchatów. The matches on the 5th and 7th October will take place in front of stadium full of fans. All details will be provided nearer the time on The Club fan pages of both teams.
“We have been training in Bełchatów for over a month. The time spent has allowed us to play on the actual match court and to prepare a number of tactical plans that we will be implementing against the opponent that marks the start of the official season. The result has been that PGE Skra has chosen us to be the opponent that marks their official start of their season. It will be the last chance for both teams to test themselves before the real competition starts. We thank them very much that we could spend so much time in their home and that we can play Champions League games there too. We aim to show ourselves as well as is possible in terms of sport as well as organisation and marketing at the encounters. We hope for a great showcase of volleyball and we invite fans to be with us in the stands!” said Jacek Ambroży, the main shareholder of IBB Polonia London and the owner of IBB Builders Merchants.
“It is fabulous that we can end our preparation phase in such an important season against our friends: PGE Skra Belchatow. COVID forced us to train and play our Champions League games in Poland, but in my opinion, there is no better volleyball home that Bełchatów. We thank the CEV and the Belarus team for their cooperation in respect to the flexibility over venue and for agreeing to the match being played at a neutral venue. We thank everyone in Bełchatów for their incredible support. This cooperation has actually been in place since 2013. If it wasn’t for Skra, we would not be where we are now in terms of many aspects of our work. Thanks friends” said Bartek Łuszcz, CEO of IBB Polonia London VC.
“The fans miss PGE Skra, and we also can’t wait to see them again. We long for the moment when we play our first match at Hala Energia. Our fans have always created the most incredible atmosphere, which has a huge influence on our game on the court. For that reason we decided to make a very special show, where we present the team and at the same time play our partner club IBB Polonia London. This team is once again playing Champions League. We have hosted dozens of Champions League games at Hala Energia, and the vast majority saw PGE Skra win. Our venue has experienced the unique atmosphere of the most prestigious competition in European volleyball and I am delighted that IBB Polonia London will be playing again. I hope that Hala Energia, the fans and Bełchatów will support the team from England and IBB Polonia London will win. We wish the best of luck to our friends” – said Konrad Piechocki, president of KPS Skra Bełchatów S.A.
Pic. Paweł Piotrowski