December 09, 2015

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The international volleyball federation has picked Italy and Bulgaria to co-host the men's world championships in 2018.

The FIVB says the semifinals and final will be played in Italy, which also hosted the 2010 tournament.

It will be the third straight men's worlds played in Europe, after Poland hosted the 24-team event last year.

The FIVB says the decision follows its Brazilian president Ary Graca's mandate to ''promote innovation and provide new opportunities.''

Italy and Bulgaria are separated by around 800 kilometers (500 miles), the Adriatic Sea and most of the Balkan nations.

Flight time between the capital cities, Rome and Sofia, is around one hour, 40 minutes.

Italy also hosted the men's world championships in 1978 and Bulgaria did in 1970.

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