World Championships – Losing to Win – Bagnoli’s View

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After a long away trip, I’m catching up on my reading (well, google translating) from over the weekend.  Despite Brazil copping most of the overt criticism, others have been at least as open in their view and actions.  Russian coach Daniele Bagnoli (an Italian) was very clear in an interview here.  He uses very strong words to describe the tournament formula including foolish, biased and insane.  He states that his goal is to move the team through the first two rounds, not necessarily to win games, ‘only in the next round do we have to win games’.  And even more clearly, ‘with my team, I do what I want’.  He also makes another interesting point that I haven’t noticed anywhere else, that the teams that finished second in the respective pools also had an extra free day between games which could be important in protecting players carrying slight injuries.

The owner/publisher/editor of, Luca Muzzioli, writes an editorial here that supports the coaches, if not in their actions, then at least in their criticisms of the formula.  It is entitled ‘Excuse me? I’m with them’.  His statement “… the world championship of any sport should not put anyone in a position of having to do calculations and make choices to live the doubt, maybe not very sporting, but fair for what are the expectations, the pressures with which they live, to get to the one goal that remains at the end, victory.”


  1. I find the whole thing fascinating. Particularly what the FIVB will do about it. I can just imagine if this happened in the NBA or NFL, the Commissioners would not worry about anything in the rules, they would just fine the teams they thought were deliberately ‘losing’, possibly in the millions of dollars.

    The other interesting angle for me is what one of the FIVB sponsors, bwin, would think about the whole thing.


      1. But they do it with plausible deniability. My point is that, even though it is not against any rules, the Commissioners would punish the teams/coaches who admitted it. Don’t forget, we are talking about sports who suspend players sometimes simply for being charged with a crime.


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