POSTED: December 10th 2008

Star quality suits baseball

Presidents together: Jacques Rogge of the IOC and baseball's Harvey Schiller / Image:  IBAF
Presidents together: Jacques Rogge of the IOC and baseball's Harvey Schiller / Image: IBAF

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/TAMPA: Harvey Schiller is feeling positive about baseball’s prospects of regaining Olympic status in 2016.

The president of the IBAF, the International Baseball Federation, believes his sport has the history, status and international reach to impress the IOC next October. Baseball, cut from the programme after this past summer’s Games in Beijing, is one of seven sports in competition, along with golf, karate, roller sports, rugby union, softball and squash.

Key factors could include the prospect of the appearance of top professionals from Major League Baseball as well as the sport’s progress on doping.

Schiller says: “The IBAF is completely WADA-compliant. We’ve had very very few positive cases in our international play and for the World Baseball Classic in March we have full compliance by Major League Baseball. We’ve had full cooperation from MLB and the Players Association on drug testing – and also, from them, in ensuring that the 2016 Games will have the best players ever in the Olympic competition."

Track record

Baseball has an Olympic track record denied to its Copenhagen competitors. As Schiller says: “Baseball, as opposed to the other six sports, has beeen in the Olympic Games 12 times, most recently as a medal sport starting in Barcelona and of course we were just in Beijing.”

He also views in a happy light the approaches of the four cities competing to play host to the summer Games in 2016. “Chicago and Tokyo, he points out, “are cities where the national sport is baseball and of course they have big stadiums which would probably be sold out – which must be in the best interests of the organising committees.

“Madrid is another of the candidate cities and they had baseball in their plan because they were bidding for 2012. Rio was the same: they had plans for baseball and they just had the Panamerican Games last summer where baseball was competed - and baseball is big in Brazil."

Keywords · Harvey Schiller · baseball · Olympic Games · 2016 · IBAF · IOC · Copenhagen

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