International Summit on Sport: WBSC President joins world sport's leaders in signing Sport for All Declaration in Vatican City

International Summit on Sport: WBSC President joins world sport's leaders in signing Sport for All Declaration in Vatican City
30/09/2022
The WBSC has put its effort into making baseball/softball more accessible through its flagship parasport Baseball for the Blind, Baseball5 and Wheelchair Softball.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari joined Pope Francis, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, President of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons and international sports leaders in signing a Sport For All Declaration to promote cohesive and accessible sport for everyone.

The signing took place at the end of an International Summit on Sport in Vatican City on 29 and 30 September and saw among the participants the President of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the President of the Italian Olympic Committee Giovanni Malagò.

The world of sports is experiencing an identity crisis of systematic proportions, which includes a distance between amateur and professional sports. The Declaration aims to promote the social and inclusive dimension of sport. It builds on the October 2016 event Sport at the Service of the Humanity and the June 2018 document Giving the Best of Yourself.

It is also meant to respond to Pope Francis's vision of sports as a means of human, educational and spiritual growth.

"Since the birth of modern sports in the 19th century, the Church has willingly accompanied and promoted the practice of sports," said Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, during his introduction. "Using the words of His Holiness Pius XII, sport is not a vain agitation of limbs, but an activity with high educational and social potential, capable of promoting the person."

Cardinal Farrell added: "Pope Francis continually reminds us that we are called to live in a complex age of transition and asked to build ever-stronger educational and social alliances. The occasion of this International Summit and the Declaration accompanying it is a further sign of friendship between faith and sport."

The WBSC has put its effort into making baseball/softball more accessible through its flagship parasport, Baseball for the Blind, celebrated its first-ever International Cup in the Netherlands in the Summer of 2022.

Baseball5, the five-on-five and mixed-gender version of baseball/softball, took the sport to new communities, including underprivileged and conflict-struck areas.

The Baseball5 African Championship in Tanzania became the most successful baseball/softball event ever on the Continent.

A collaboration between WBSC and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees aims at having a refugee team participate in the Baseball5 tournament at the Youth Olympics in 2026.