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  • ATR First: WBSC Acts as Intermediary for Cuban Players


    11/05/19

    (ATR) Mexican clubs have confirmed their interest in signing several Cuban players through the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC).

    Cuban baseball players now have the WBSC working for them. (Lima 2019)
    This would be the first transaction achieved with the WBSC as a representative of the Cuban Baseball Federation, Around the Rings has learned in Guadalajara.

    ATR had access to a list of 25 Cuban players held by the WBSC accompanied by the statistics of each of them.

    The international federation has begun to circulate the list among professional leagues around the world.

    The WBSC source did not want to identify the name of the Mexican club belonging to the Mexican Pacific League, which already selected the three Cuban baseball players one week after the Memorandum of Understanding between the WBSC and the Cuban Federation was signed in Havana.

    With that agreement, with the WBSC as an intermediary, Cuban players will be able to play in foreign leagues and remain welcome in the Cuban National Team.

    "Players who have left Cuba can contact WBSC to express their interest and request entry to the Cuban national baseball team," said WBSC president Italian Riccardo Fraccari.

    WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari speaks with ATR in Guadalajara. (ATR)
    Fraccari confirmed to ATR the request of the Mexican club but ruled out that it was Charros de Jalisco, the team whose stadium is the venue for Group A games of the WBSC Premier 12. Mexico and the United States qualified for the Super Round in Tokyo next week at the expense of the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands.

    The WBSC president said that with the consent of the Cuban Federation, a tryout will be organized in Havana with scouts from all over the world invited, including those from the US major leagues that were interested.

    There are still no dates for this technical and physical evaluation of the players, Fraccari said, but it is probably in the first months of 2020.

    "This is something historic because it opens a new path for Cuba," the Italian director reiterated.

    The Administration of President Donald Trump canceled the Cuba Agreement with MLB that allowed baseball players from the communist island into the Major Leagues by rejecting the premise that the Cuban federation was "a non-governmental organization".

    The Trump Administration claimed that the Cuban government would be the main beneficiary of this agreement, which would be a violation of the embargo.

    With the WBSC directly involved in the negotiations this agreement could have better luck, experts said.

    That agreement would have allowed Cuban players to compete for major league clubs without having to defect.

    Similarly, analysts do not rule out that the “Paradela Effect” could be successfully explored to bring Cuban players into the professional market in the United States through the WBSC.

    Luis Paradela plays for both his soccer club in the USA and Cuba. (Reno 1868 FC)
    The “Paradela Effect” the legal process by which a professional sports franchise in the United States signed a Cuban who will continue to represent the national team of his country.

    On September 7, Cuban soccer player Luis Javier Paradela made his official debut with Reno 1868 F.C. of the United Soccer League (USL) and became the first Cuban athlete linked to the National Sports Institute of his country, competing in the United States sports system without having to defect.

    Paradela traveled to the United States from Guatemala with a P-1A Athlete Visa.

    This special visa applies to those who come to the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of participating in a specific sports competition.

    While performing for Reno 1868 FC, which is currently in the USL finals, Paradela received permission to play with the national team of Cuba that faced the United States in Washington, DC on October 11 in the Concacaf League of Nations.

    The directors and lawyers of Reno 1868 FC entered into direct negotiations not with the Cuban government but with the Guatemalan club that had signed Paradela through the INDER of Cuba.

    Fraccari did not want to go into details but he did not deny that this formula is also being studied today.

    When ATR asked if this special visa could be on the WBSC's agenda to pave the way for the presence of Cuban baseball players in the US Major Leagues, the Italian only smiled.

    Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez in Guadalajara, Mexico

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