On Friday 25th June, in Luxembourg, the drawing of lots took place for Champions League Rounds 1-3. The champions of England, IBB Polonia London, will be taking on Champions of Belarus – Shakhtior Soligorsk. and the first match will take place at the beginning of October.
This prestigious event is the continuation of the strategic evolution of its plans to develop the level of competition of the Club and to improve the sporting, business and organisation standards.
The Londoners are one of 35 male teams who have declared their interest in taking part in this elite club competition. In the 2021/2022 edition, as well as the usual multi-titled heavyweights of European volleyball, there are a number of debutants on the entry list, such as the champions of Spain and Estonia. There are fifteen other clubs who join the competition in the first round, alongside IBB Polonia London, and the players under the leadership of Vangelis Koutouleas were drawn against Shakhtior Soligorsk the reigning champions of Belarus. The opponents are experienced team, but nothing that would frighten the English Champions.
The Club is enthusiastically preparing the new demands that are part of such a sporting encounter. The first Champions League match played in London against Mladost Zagreb ended in a 0-3 defeat, but was a real spectacle for all the spectators in attendance. The fans declared that the organisation of the event was of the highest order and they enjoyed the fervent atmosphere brought about by the world class DJ and sports commentators. The Club Board have hinted that there will be even more court-side fun at the next games. Lifting their own bar is part of the philosophy of the Club for the upcoming season, and if the pandemic situation allows it, the London based team will raise the level of volleyball even higher and will bring many surprises for the fans who attend the game.
“This is an excellent draw for us. They are based just across the border from Poland and recently have CEV Cups experience. They have traditionally filled their squad with Belorus players. I am very pleased that we are playing this team” – said Chris Hykiel, IBB Polonia London Director of Volleyball.
“Once again, there is a demand placed on us, and the opponent that we have drawn doesn’t make life so easy for us. From year to year we show that there are no barriers for us and I know it will be the same this time too. The coaching team and the players will be giving all that they have during preparations for the matches to ensure that we give the best account of ourselves possible. A massive amount of work is coming for the rest of the Club’s board members because we know that the achievement on court is backed up by the work of many people behind the scenes as well as a huge financial demand. It takes a solid financial investment to put on a show like this and to perform at this level. Thanks to hard work media become interested, more fans buy tickets and new partners and sponsors come on board to invest in the project. The possibility for business investments in our very unsaturated market is vast, and for this reason we would like interested parties to join us in the development of the Club” said Jacek Ambroży, owner of IBB Builders Merchants and the Club’s majority shareholder.
“I am happy with the results of the „drawing of lots”. Our sporting aim, this season, is to progress. In the best possible scenario, we are aiming for Round 4, where the group stages take place. The competition is huge, but we will work hard to join the elite. Having said that, we already are amongst the elite in terms of organisation and marketing. The faces of the overjoyed volleyball fans at the Copper Box was evidence that we can put on a top class show, and that volleyball events have huge potential in Britain and can benefit many. We definitely will not be resting on our laurels, and thanks to our strategic sponsor, IBB Builders Merchants we will be creating an event that the fans will not be able to wait for and will attend with excitement and ecstasy.” said Bartek Łuszcz, IBB Polonia London CEO.