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Posted on Dec 03, 06:38PM | IANS
The annual International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) women's event - World Grand Prix - will expand to 20 teams for the first time in 2013 following a decision by the World Grand Prix Council, at its annual meeting in Lausanne, to add four new teams.
The move follows the same decision by the World League Council Saturday to increase the annual men's tournament from 16 to 18 teams, reports Xinhua.
The World Grand Prix Council, chaired by FIVB executive vice-president Aleksandar Boricic, decided to add World Cup champions Italy, World Champions Russia, World Grand Prix bronze medallists Turkey and Germany to the 16 teams already qualified to ensure all of the world's top 10 world ranked nations will participate.
The World Grand Prix Finals will return to Japan for the first time since 2009 and take place in Sapporo from Aug 28 to Sep 1 next year.
Japan has hosted the World Grand Prix Finals four times in the past with Sapporo being a fifth host city after Tokyo in 2009, Yokohama in 2008, Sendai in 2005 and Kobe in 1997.
Following the preliminary round, the organisers and the next best five teams will qualify for the Finals.
The World Grand Prix featured eight teams in its debut season of 1993 and from 1995 to 2002, while 12 teams were in action in 1994 and from 2003 to 2010. Sixteen teams have been involved in the 2011 and 2012 editions.