Baseball, Softball Merge To Seek Games Reinclusion

by
Reuters
The governing bodies of baseball and softball have merged in a bid to win back their spot on the Olympic programme later this year, the heads of the federations said on Sunday.

Olympics

The governing bodies of baseball and softball have merged in a bid to win back their spot on the Olympic programme later this year, the heads of the federations said on Sunday.

"This is an historic day," said International Baseball Federation (IBAF) President and WBSC co-president Riccardo Fraccari. "We have brought a new level of worldwide unity and determination to our quest to return to the Games.

"The 65 million currently playing baseball and softball around the world now have a single federation to rally behind," he said after both federations ratified the new joint constitution.

Both sports were taken off the programme in 2005 and their last appearance in the Olympics came in Beijing three years later.

By joining into one global confederation they are now bidding as one unified sport rather than two, hoping to increase their chances of an Olympic return.

The IOC will pick one sport to be included in the 2020 Olympics at their meeting in September but baseball and softball will have to make a May shortlist.

There are seven other sports vying for Olympic inclusion with wushu, squash, karate, wakeboarding, sports climbing, roller sports and wrestling also on the campaign trail.

The IOC executive board will meet in St Petersburg in May to determine which of these will be put to the vote in September at their session in Buenos Aires, where the host city for the 2020 Games will also be chosen.

"This is in the best interests of the athletes and putting the welfare of the athletes and the future of sport first, and inspiring young athletes to stand on the highest podium that an athlete can aspire to - the Olympic Games," Fraccari said.