LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the world governing body of baseball and softball, today announced the welcoming of the Dominican Professional Baseball League (LIDOM) as an Associate Member.

LIDOM’s membership was reviewed and approved by the WBSC Executive Board.

Founded in 1951, LIDOM represents the highest level of professional baseball in the Dominican Republic, where baseball is the national sport.

“WBSC is proud to welcome the Dominican Republic’s top league, LIDOM, into the World Baseball Softball family,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “LIDOM’s officially joining the global baseball movement represents a boost to the Dominican Republic National Team programme, the Dominican Republic Baseball Federation (FEDOBE) and WBSC’s top-tier sanctioned international competitions like Premier12 as well as the U-23 Baseball World Cup, while helping to spread the LIDOM brand globally.”

LIDOM President Vitelio Mejía Ortiz said: “This is a transcendent step for the future of our baseball and our league. We will develop ties of cooperation and joint projects toward common goals which will result in the growth of baseball in our nation and the development of our summer league, ultimately lifting Dominican baseball to the Olympic Games. Our slogan is: There’s only one baseball.”

FEDOBE President Hector Pereyra said: “This is a historic day and great recognition of Dominican baseball at the international level. LIDOM’s membership helps to solidify and unite baseball in the Dominican Republic, while also reinforcing the global baseball movement under WBSC and President Fraccari. We are building our country’s baseball programme looking toward the future and looking toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and LIDOM’s status within the international federation is a major step in the right direction.”

In May, the nation’s Ministry of Sports (MIDEREC), Olympic Committee (COD) and LIDOM launched the Dominican Olympic Baseball Programme (“PROBEISBOL”) with the objective of having the Dominican Republic National Baseball Team qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The addition of LIDOM, which was welcomed along with the Association Francophone de Baseball et Softball, raises WBSC’s organisational structure to 208 Members (195 National Federations and 13 Associate Members) across Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania, representing approximately 65 million athletes and 200 million fans and followers worldwide.