South American Men's Clubs on the starting line


Sada Cruzeiro celebrate the 2016 South American Club Championship title with Isac Santos holding the tropy aloft.

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 21, 2017 - Seven clubs are under starters orders in Montes Claros in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais, as the 31st edition of the South American Club Championship is about to get underway Tuesday evening - with a ticket to the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship, next December in Poland, also at stake.

Defending champions and reigning Brazil and world champions Sada Cruzeiro of Contagem lead the pack, out to become the first club since 1992 to successfully defend the title and to get a direct ticket to the Club Worlds for a chance to defend their world title in December.

Their main obstacles are expected to be Brazil Superleague rivals and hosts of this year's edition Montes Claros Volei, as well as reigning Argentina champions and two-time (2013 and 2015) continental champions UPCN San Juan in addition to the second Argentina entry of Personal Bolivar who won the continental title on 2010 and currently lead the Argentine League table at the end of the regular season.

The 2017 South American Club Championship was left with seven participants after the withdrawal of French Guiana's USL Montjoly. The remaining teams are divided into two pools, with the top two of each pool advancing to Friday's semifinals.

Pool A: Montes Claros Volei (BRA), Sada Cruzeiro Contagem (BRA), Bohemios Montevideo (URU).
Pool B: Personal Bolivar (ARG), UPCN San Juan (ARG), San Martin Cochabamba (BOL), Unilever Lima (PER).

Sada Cruzeiro will be going for their second straight and fourth overall title. Only Paulistano and Banespa, both of Sao Paulo, have won more titles with 5 each. Last time a club successfully defended the title in the South American Club Championship was in 1992, when Banespa Sao Paulo won their fifth straight gold medal - a streak unrivaled in the history of the competition.

No club outside of Brazil or Argentina has ever won the continental title since the introduction of the competition in 1970.

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