At the end of May 2021, the process of applying for the 2021/2022 edition of the CEV Champions League was completed. This is the highest level of prestige in European club volleyball. The Champions of England will start their campaign from the first round, and the preparation of the squad will be carried out, once again, by Vangelis Koutouleas who will remain at the club for the next season.
The team from London, for the third consecutive season, will compete at the Champions League and will fight for success representing British volleyball. In 2021/2022, the Club has set itself ambitious targets compared to previous editions of the competition when they were eliminated by defeats to Itas Trentino and Mladost Zagreb at the start of the campaign. IBB Polonia London will find out who their opponents will be towards the end of the month; the drawing of lots will take place on Friday 25th June 2021. There are many potential opponents such as Mladost Zagreb, Olympiacos Piraeus and the champions of Holland Draisma Dynamo Apeldoorn (with whom IBB Polonia London lost twice) or the Romanians CSM Arcada Galati. The first games, according to the CEV calendar, will be played at the start of October.
The Champions League competition will be a dual challenge for the London team: sport and organisation. The Club wishes to show Britain the beauty of volleyball and to encourage them to attend professional volleyball events.
Vangelis Koutouleas, responsible for the team’s development and training, has been planning the season for a while.
„The new season is approaching and so are the new demands. We play Champions League again and we have big new targets to achieve in terms of results and also organisation of the matches that is a strategic development of our club. We want to show that an English club can play volleyball and can challenge the best in Europe. We impatiently wait for news of our first rivals. I hope, after last season’s opponents, Trentino, that the draw will be kind to us and we draw an opponent that we can beat. We can’t wait for the event itself in Great Britain and to put on a show for our fans. I hope that the pandemic situation doesn’t destroy our plans, and in October fans will return and enjoy themselves at our matches” said Bartek Luszcz, IBB Polonia London CEO.
„I am delighted that I am staying in London for the next season, and that I will continue working with IBB Polonia London and work towards our goals that we set out for ourselves two years ago. Next season is going to be very demanding, but also interesting and we aim to show an English club within the elite of Europe. We have been working on recruitment and developing a plan leading into the season. I am optimistic that the coming season will start in a normal manner, and that we can compete normally” said Vangelis Koutouleas, Head Coach of IBB Polonia London.
IBB Polonia London has been competing on European competitions since 2016/17. That year the CEV Challenge Cup was the target and finishing in the 1/8 round was a huge achievement. The following years NEVZA was the mission and in 2019 the reward was a gold medal. In 2019/20 the level of demand increased to the Champions’ League and was matched in 2020/21. taking part in such high level competition is only possible because of the involvement of the strategic sponsors: IBB Builders Merchants.
Vangelis Koutouleas – volleyball and beach volleyball coach. Ex professional player for the Greek National Team. He has coached a large number of teams and clubs, with multiple successes in Cyprus and Great Britain. He is the current Head Coach for IBB Polonia London, the reigning Champions of England, the innovators of the sport in the country and the only club to have ever represented England in the CEV Champions League.
Champions League Volley Men – is Europe’s top-tier continental club competition, running from the fall through the spring of each Volleyball club season. All national champions as well as some additional best-ranked teams from the top national leagues are eligible to participate. The Champions League was established in 2000 to succeed the European Champions Cup annual tournament launched in 1959.