POSTED: August 21st 2013

World Baseball Softball Confederation announces dates for first General Assembly

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The World Baseball Softball Confederation, established from a vote in 2012 by the congresses of the International Baseball Federation and International Softball Federation, will have its first General Assembly 7-9 March 2014.

WBSC co-presidents Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter said the IOC Sports Department was to thank for the support of the landmark merger of the two federations in the best interests of the athletes and baseball and softball.

“We realise there were no prior cases to serve as a reference for this historic unification process, and that’s why we are indebted to the IOC member, the IOC Sport Department and greater Olympic Family for their generosity with their time, knowledge and guidance in helping us to build the general framework for moving forward as one entity governing both baseball and softball,” they said.

“The coming together of our two sporting federations has already created important synergies that will provide a better distribution and use of our resources, planning and sporting infrastructure, while will help to sustain the athletes and long-term development of the sports.”

With new venues being constructed and others renovated in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania – benefiting local economies – heavy investments have been made to develop baseball and softball globally.

“We are honoured and extremely encouraged by the invaluable support of our national federations who have given us their trust, confidence and support in proceeding in this new direction to create a better future for the athletes and sport,” Fraccari and Porter said.

The two sports will hope the merger of the International Baseball Federation and International Softball Federation will help the sports’ joint bid to be included on the 2020 Olympic Games Programme as equal partners in an Olympic sport.

“The growing global popularity, interest and commercial strength of baseball and softball would enable the sports to make a meaningful contribution to the Olympic Movement and provide a memorable experience and spectacle for fans, broadcasters, and viewing audiences, as well as host cities and countries, and strong ticket sales and revenue for Olympic organising committees, strong sponsor interest, to connect more young people to the Olympic Games, and provide new pathways for women and girls into sport, especially through softball in Muslim countries,” Fraccari and Porter said.

The launch of the official World Baseball Softball Confederation website follows on the footsteps of the Confederation’s hosting of four world championships, the naming of its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland – home of the International Olympic Committee – and the establishment of various commissions, such as the Athletes Commission. It has also launched strict sports betting and match-fixing regulations in the WBSC Code of Ethics and Constitution.

The first-ever baseball-softball dedicated venue opened in the United Kingdom last month and a study has been commissioned to discover ways to streamline world championships budgets and maximize market penetration and attractiveness of member federations’ events.

“The project in the UK highlights the significant benefits and realities of baseball and softball’s partnership and long-term sustainability,” Fraccari and Porter said. “And the birth of this new facility is a good indicator of the growing popularity of our game in all key regions such as Europe, including an innovative compact baseball-softball venue being constructed just outside Amsterdam.”

The baseball-softball joint bid is one of three the International Olympic Committee will consider adding to the 2020 Olympic Summer Games Programme at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires 7 September. The other two bids come from wrestling and squash.

Keywords · WSBC · Baseball · Softball · Olympics · International Olympic Committee · Lausanne · World Baseball Softball Confederation ·

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