ROME — World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari and WBSC Softball Division Chairman Tommy Velazquez made it very clear: baseball and softball belong to the same family, and there’s only one ruling body and that is WBSC.

Velazquez opened the Softball Division Executive Meeting stating: “We have regional offices, and one is here in Rome. The other is in America. But what runs WBSC is the Lausanne office.”

Fraccari added: “We owe to our past, but we were elected to build the future of baseball and softball. Baseball and softball share one house, and this is WBSC.”

Fraccari updated the members of the Softball Executive about the Olympic Agenda: “Baseball and softball are in the program of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. As I said many times, now our priority is to make it to the program of the Paris 2024 Olympics. For that to happen, baseball and softball need to be picked by the organizing committee. We will form a group of people to work on the various issues.”

“What we need to do is to help the Paris organizing committee to choose baseball and softball,” said Fraccari. “The main problem to solve is venues. WBSC and other stakeholders need to commit to a project that relieves the organizers from the burden of identifying and funding a proper venue. We are considering that, as we build our budgets.”

Fraccari then spoke about the specific needs for softball: “Today we are here to address the main issues and to start working on possible improvements. Softball definitely needs more visibility. We are improving our communication department, and we will cover with our people every competition.”

The main challenge will be restructuring softball competitions. Fraccari said: “We need to make them more appealing. We need to attract interest, in order to give value to our tournaments. Softball has a strong and committed community. We want to provide them with a platform to watch international tournaments. WBSC will invest a lot in this project and hopefully Continental and National Federations will share their competitions on this platform.”

Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò visited the meeting: “I don’t see WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari as an International Federation President. I see him as a friend of mine.”

Malagò added that CONI will back baseball and softball bid for Paris 2024: “The decision will be made in Italy. So, let’s say we well play on home turf.”

Giovanni Malagò, the Italian Olympic Committee President, visited the meeting

Further updates on decisions made during the WBSC Softball Division Executive Board Meeting in Rome will be published in the coming days.