Club Volleyball

Arago de SETE celebrate 40th anniversary of European debut


Article Sun, Nov 13 2022

Earlier this week, France’s Arago de SETE returned to contest an international match for the first time since 2017. Even though they lost 1-3 to their compatriots of NARBONNE Volley in the first of two fixtures scheduled for the 16th Finals of the men’s CEV Cup, Arago are one of only a handful of teams to have competed at the highest international level for decades. This year’s participation in the CEV Cup coincides with the 40th anniversary of their European debut.

A group picture of the team that represented Arago de SETE in the 1982/1983 edition of the CEV Cup

Indeed, back in the 1982/1983 season, the team from southern France had an amazing run in their first-ever international competition, reaching the Final Four of the CEV Cup. Their roster at the time included Polish superstar Marek Karbarz, a 1976 Olympic champion and member of Poland’s golden generation that made Volleyball history in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, winning the World Championship title in 1974.

After making it through a relatively easy first round against Galina SCHAAN of Liechtenstein, Arago achieved their first major success on the European stage when they edged Tacspor ISTANBUL by winning the second-leg match 3-0 after losing the previous one in four sets.

This performance opened the doors to the prestigious Final Four which took place in Belgium and more specifically in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve from February 18-20, 1983. They reached this stage of the competition together with another French team, AS GRENOBLE, Ubbink ORION from the Netherlands, and the legendary Italian team Panini MODENA.

A copy of a ticket still kept in Sète to remember their Final Four appearance

With the event contested in the middle of the winter season, the players and staff of Arago travelled to Belgium by train via Paris. A bus for fans was eventually cancelled due to bad weather, but six brave supporters made the trip from Sète anyway to cheer on their team. Handicapped by the injury of an important player, Arago finished the competition in fourth place, while Panini MODENA added yet another trophy to their ever-growing cabinet. Interestingly, Arago claimed their only set from the matchup with the eventual competition winners from Italy.

Subsequently, Arago contested European competitions many times, including three appearances in the elite CEV Champions League – thus accounting for as many as 78 international matches before the start of the 2022/2023 season.

Arago de SETE took one set from eventual competition winners Panini MODENA of Italy