A new five-star structure for the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour will be used between 2017 and 2020, it has been announced.
The development marks the latest step taken by the FIVB, under the leadership of President Ary S. Graça, to modernise and streamline its competitions as it strives to enter into a golden period for volleyball on the back of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and on the road to Tokyo 2020.
The new structure will replace the current system in which the World Tour is made up of Grand Slams, Majors and Opens.
Instead, organisers will be given greater flexibility in the naming of their events with the requirement that the specific star rating is included.
Five and four star will be the highest-level elite events, while three, two and one star events will be there to develop the sport in as many regions as possible.
The aim of the new structure is to drastically increase the number of events in a growing number of hosting countries and create a sustainable business model, while providing additional commercial flexibility and opportunities.
"We are constantly innovating our sport as we look to fulfil our vision of being the number one family sport entertainment in the world," said Brazilian Graça.
"The introduction of our new five-star structure for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will make the tour more appealing to local and global commercial partners, allowing us to increase revenue which can then be reinvested into the development of the sport.
"We want host cities to be able to have the flexibility to stamp their own identity on their events while at the same time ensure that they deliver the consistency and quality that the world has come to expect from FIVB events.
"Rio 2016 will be a huge moment for volleyball and we want to ensure that everything is in place after the Games to build on the momentum and global exposure we will generate at the Games."
It is hoped the five-star structure will make the hierarchy of the events within the World Tour clearer to fans, sponsors and broadcasters.
Each event will need to fulfil specific criteria set by the FIVB depending on the star ranking in order to ensure consistency across the World Tour for each category.
The criteria includes the level and quality of facilities, technology and infrastructure, the type of competition format, prize money, world ranking points, and requirements for television production and broadcasting.