Over the years, FIVB have come up with many ideas to promote volleyball, some good, some great, some inevitably half baked. One of my personal favourites was in the late 1980s, when FIVB president Ruben Acosta had the idea that in odd numbered years, the reigning World or Olympic Champion would play a match against a team made up of the best players from the rest of the world: A World All-Star Team, if you will.
I have in my mind that the concept only lasted for two editions (for men), with USA playing in 1989 and Italy playing in 1991. But unsurprisingly given how much volleyball loves to keep its historical records up to date, this is not easy to confirm or deny. What I know without a shadow of a doubt is that there was a World Gala at least once, and renowned Soviet / Russia coach Vyacheslav Platonov was selected to be among the coaches for the World All-Stars. He was officially invited along with all the other participants and informed that among the conditions, all participants would receive a fixed per diem.
Platonov strongly believed that for a coach to have the authority he needed to have, it is necessary that he be the highest paid member of the team. He duly passed on his belief to Acosta, adding that he would require a higher per diem than the players. Whatever the subsequent correspondence between them, Platonov travelled to the event to be part of the team.
That was not the end of the story however. At the gala dinner that accompanied the event, Acosta, in the course of his speech told the story of their correspondence. He then
announced that in accordance with his wishes Platonov would receive $1 more than the players, and to ensure he had the last word, brought Platonov to the stage to present him with a single dollar bill in a presentation case. The bill was duly signed by everyone and currently resides in a cabinet among many of Platonov’s other memorabilia at his volleyball academy in St Petersburg.
For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.