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  • Baseball and Softball Moving Forward


    (ATR) Baseball and softball were disappointed about their exclusion from the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris...but they keep going.

    WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari meets with IOC President Thomas Bach in Lausanne (WBSC)
    Their attention is focused instead on making the Tokyo Olympic tournament in a year and a half a success, and ensuring the return of the disciplines in nine years at the Los Angeles Games.

    That message seems to have been sent at the meeting held in Lausanne between the IOC president Thomas Bach, and World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) president Riccardo Fraccari.

    "The IOC President praised the work that the WBSC has done and is doing for the development and the modernization of our sport, and for the growth and stability that the WBSC as organization has achieved," Fraccari commented after the meeting.

    “WBSC and IOC will keep working together as it is crucial for baseball-softball to maintain the Olympic sport status regardless to the participation of our athletes at Games in the French capital. The IOC will also consider our new urban and youth-focused discipline Baseball5 for inclusion in the upcoming Youth Olympic Games," he added.

    A spokesperson for the WBSC revealed to Around the Rings that key points of discussion between Presidents Bach and Fraccari included the fact that under the hosting contract of the Olympic games the choice of the additional sports is only made by the Organizing Committee for those specific Games. In addition, the rules stipulate that the athlete quota for all additional sports is around 100, effectively eliminating team sports from being included.

    The meeting between the two sports leaders took place a week after Paris 2024 Olympic Games Organizing Committee presented its shortlist for additional sports to be included on the Olympic Program in 2024. Skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and breaking have been chosen.

    WBSC made an economically strong proposal which had zero risks for Paris 2024

    For Paris 2024, WBSC offered to reduce its athlete quota by approximately 100 athletes compared to the current quota Tokyo 2020.

    After congratulating these four disciplines, Fraccari wrote on Twitter:

    "As WBSC we continue to believe our inclusive, accessible sports can serve to promote the Olympic values across the world," Fraccari wrote on Twitter.

    "We will continue working with the Olympic Movement in the lead up to our spectacular Olympic comeback in Tokyo 2020.

    "And we already focus on Los Angeles 2028."

    Baseball made its official debut at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and softball at Atlanta 1996.

    The presence of both was interrupted after the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

    After missing out in London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016, baseball and softball will return to Tokyo 2020 after presenting a rational calendar of competitions and a maximum reduction of six selections per sport.

    WBSC will guarantee in Tokyo 2020 the presence of the stars of the Japanese major leagues, but it is difficult to get Major League Baseball (MLB) of the United States to do the same, primarily due to the Olympic tournament taking place in the middle of the MLB season.

    As a rule, this absence of baseball's best players is a recurring issue for members of the IOC. 

    Experts consider that the lack of continuity on the Olympic Programme complicates WBSC’s relationship with the professional leagues.

    While baseball and softball have been excluded in 2024 in France, a "non-baseball" country, almost no one would dare to predict that these two disciplines, created in the USA, would be left out for Los Angeles in 2028. 

    Reportado por Miguel Hernandez. Para comentarios generales o preguntas, click here.
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