TAIPEI CITY — The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA) and Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) — WBSC Members — together with the nation’s Sports Administration signed a historic cooperation agreement on Thursday (31 January 2019), the parties announced at a press conference in capital city Taipei, which generated headlines across the nation.

As part of the accord, the national federation, CTBA, would manage the hosting rights of a major event like this year’s WBSC Premier12, while the top-tier league CPBL would manage the men’s National Team, including the training and selection of players, for major events like Premier12, the World Baseball Classic and the Olympics (should the nation qualify for the latter two).

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari reacted on news of the joint announcement: “This is a great day for Chinese Taipei baseball — congratulations to both CTBA and CPBL for putting the sport of baseball first.

“This historic agreement immediately boosts the Chinese Taipei National Baseball Team and makes them a serious contender and fan-favourite in global events like this year’s WBSC Premier12.”

CTBA Chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr. said: “It is all worth it if we manage to build the strongest national team,” Koo said. “We have to qualify for the Olympics, whatever it takes. We must beat Korea — that is my biggest dream.”

CPBL would cover insurance premiums of its own players who make the national team and play in one of the three major international baseball tournaments.

The agreement may also see the use of the black and white national team uniform rolled out by CPBL.

The new national team manager will be chosen from among CPBL’s four teams and confirmed in the coming weeks.

In the last two major international competitions — the 2015 Premier12 and 2017 World Baseball Classic — the Chinese Taipei squad failed to advance past the opening round.

Chinese Taipei is currently ranked fourth in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings.