Baseball-Softball Leadership heads to Tokyo to Launch the 2020 Olympics Campaign and Ratify Historic New Constitution in Line with Pledge to IOC
LAUSANNE – The table has been set for the campaign to return baseball and softball to the Olympic Games. A historic milestone is expected to be reached in Tokyo this week when the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) convenes its congress in the Japanese capital.
The Congress will see the constitutional birth of a new combined baseball and softball federation in a bid for Olympic reinstatement, and has the makings to be the most significant marker in international baseball and softball sporting history.
With IBAF President and new World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Co-President Riccardo Fraccari presiding over the Congress-and ISF President and WBSC Co-President Don Porter leading a delegation of softball representatives-the Congress will act to ratify the new Constitution governing the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).
This will finalize a long and detailed process to meet the stringent criteria of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) whereby the two independent and recognized international federations currently governing baseball and softball shall merge into a single international federation.
“This is about far more than simply ratifying a legal document,” said Fraccari. “This is a major achievement in a two-year campaign that embodies the dreams of millions of men and women, and boys and girls around the world-from the professional leagues to the grassroots level-who want to play for their country in the Olympic Games, the pinnacle of sporting excellence.”
The Tokyo Congress follows the recent successful World Baseball Classic (WBC) final in San Francisco, which broke all attendance, broadcast, viewing and commercial records for the event. The WBC was a showcase for the increasing popularity of the sport and boosted efforts by baseball and softball officials and professional leagues to grow and globalize the game, especially for young people in parts of the world where there are limited options to play Olympic team sports.
At the conclusion of the Congress, the World Baseball Softball Confederation is also planning to launch the next phase of its bid leading up to a presentation before the IOC Executive Board at the end of May.
The WBSC will unveil a new campaign logo and theme-and web site-and launch an all-encompassing social media push to drive the many millions of players and supporters of all ages and backgrounds who love their sport and the Olympic Games to join the line up to get baseball and softball back in the Olympic Games.
“Baseball and softball rank by far as the most followed sport in the world that is not on the Olympic programme today,” said Porter. “And it offers boys and girls everywhere an easy path into a great team sport unlike anything else in the Olympic Games. Even though we have 65 million players today, there’s plenty of room for growth. That’s why this campaign is so important to us.”
“We’ve really benefited from the invaluable advice and counsel that the Olympic Family offered us,” Fraccari said, “there have been major advancements into giving our sports exceptional appeal in the Olympic format. That”s why we’ve streamlined our tournament and created back-to-back tournaments, which offers full gender equity in the most compelling and exciting TV package we’ve ever put forward.”
“The explosive potential of baseball-softball captured within the Olympics could lead to tremendous and unparalleled growth,” said Porter. “In fact, we believe baseball and softball can become the next great global game and serve to instill the ideals of Olympism in the lives of many more millions of young, advanced people-and future generations-around the world.”