(ATR) IOC president Thomas Bach opens the door for baseball and softball to return to the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.
At a news conference in Tokyo, Bach indicated the IOC would study the possibility at the next meetings of the Executive Board, set for December and February.
"We will have the first broad discussion in December in a meeting of the Executive Board of the IOC, then the Executive Board will present its first discussion paper to the IOC session in Sochi," he said.
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reported comments last week from 2020 IOC Coordination Commission chair John Coates that the two sports might get further consideration from the IOC for Tokyo.
In his campaign to become IOC president, Bach said that more flexibility was needed in deciding the program for the Olympic Games. Currently, new sports can only come into the Olympic Games seven years prior.
Baseball and softball, which formed a confederation to be considered as one sport for the Olympic program, lost out to wrestling for a spot on the 2020 program. That vote was taken at the IOC Session in September where Bach was elected president.
The Olympic charter sets a limit of 28 sports so any move to add baseball and softball to the Tokyo program would have to deal with that conflict. Also to be reckoned with is squash, which also lost out on the 2020 program at the IOC Session, as well as other sports such as karate, which have been rejected
John Coates and Thomas Bach with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Getty Images)
consecutive times in voting by the IOC for the Olympic program.
Bach is in Tokyo with Coates, who is also an IOC vice president as well president of the Australian Olympic Committee.While in Tokyo, Bach and Coates met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
They came to Tokyo Tuesday night from China, where Bach met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The meeting is the first between the two men. China is back in the Olympic bid game with an application to host the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and the province of Zhangjiakou. Nanjing in southern China will host the second Youth Olympic Games in 2014.
Bach heads to South Korea for one more stop in Asia. In Seoul, he will visit the offices of 2018 Winter Olympics host PyeongChang, followed by a luncheon with the Korean Olympic Committee. He will be traveling with IOC 2018 Coordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg, IOC director general Christophe De Kepper and Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli.
In the afternoon, he will visit the Blue House for a meeting with the president of South Korea
Bach will end the week in Rome at the annual general assembly of the European Olympic Committees. His appearance will be the first at a meeting of a continental NOC since his election September.
He will continue meeting world leaders during his Rome stop, calling upon the Prime Minister of Italy, as well Pope Francis.
Written and reported by Ed Hula
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