The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), under president Riccardo Fraccari, has taken major steps to ensure baseball and softball athletes are represented in the decision-making of the world governing body.
Former Olympic baseball and softball stars Justin Huber (AUS) and Maria Soto (VEN) co-chair the WBSC Athletes Commission and each have a seat on the ruling body’s Executive Board, while Canadian players Ashley Stephenson and Erika Polidori were voted by fellow athletes to represent the players at the WBSC Baseball Division and WBSC Softball Division boards.
The process to ensure the players — both male and female — are helping to shape the decisions of the world governing body will be completed by the end of 2019. When the final ruling structure is complete, six representatives from all male and female disciplines will have a voice and representation on the WBSC Baseball Division, the WBSC Softball Division and the WBSC Executive Board.
The WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship 2019 in Prague, Czech Republic, marks another important step in this direction, where the players will vote for a male representative on the WBSC Softball Division Board. Bruno Motroni (ARG), Nick Shailes (AUS) and Tidima Kekana (RSA) are the three candidates vying for the position.
In November during the WBSC Premier12®, players will elect a male representative for the baseball discipline.
Jurry Manaka, athlete representative of the Botswana Softball Association, welcomes the expansion in athletes’ representation within the world governing body.
“I’m glad that the WBSC is brings the athlete voice to all its decision-making bodies…bigger representation can lead to better representation,” Manaka said. “For those who get elected, I suggest to start with pushing all national federations to create athletes’ commission and allow their representatives in to speak in their boards.”
The WBSC is supporting the presence of members of the WBSC Athlete Commission at each world level event this year. The purpose of the project is to ensure vital athlete information and feedback is taken into consideration at WBSC Executive Board meetings.
Maria Soto is the athlete representative at the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship in Prague.
“It is a huge step for our commission be present at the tournaments,” the Venezuelan federation president and softball star said. “The WBSC being a young governing body has the opportunity to easily undertake all necessary steps to meet IOC guidelines, with respect to athletes’ representation and safeguarding.
“Last April, I participated in the IOC Athletes forum…representatives from every Olympic Sport were gathered and underlined the importance of making the athletes’ voices heard as a whole. Following this forum, all 10 of our recommendations were adopted by the New Norms of the International Olympic Committee.”