The competition consists of 12 participating teams and is organised into four rounds. 66 matches are played in total in a round-robin format and the top three teams (if not yet qualified) earn berths for the Olympics the following year.
The inaugural World Cup was held in 1965 (for men, 1973 for women) with the original intent being that it would partially fill the gap between the two most important volleyball tournaments on the calendar, the Olympic Games and the World Championship.
The creation of annual international events such as the World League and the Grand Prix though, meant the original purpose was no longer valid, so instead the competition was to be used as the first international Olympic qualification tournament.
Since then the event takes place in Japan and of the twelve teams who participate, ten must qualify and two appear by invitation. Japan is always pre-qualified as host nation.
The FIVB World Cup should not be confused with the FIVB World Championship or the FIVB World League/FIVB World Grand Prix.
If you want to watch officially licensed streams of the FIVB World Cup matches live on your PC or laptop, you can open a free account with bet365 and select bet365 > live streaming > volleyball
or go to Paddy Power > Watch Live > Volleyball.