UNHCR Global Refugee Forum: WBSC showcases Legacy Club impact using Baseball5 in Jordan

UNHCR Global Refugee Forum: WBSC showcases Legacy Club impact using Baseball5 in Jordan
13/12/2023
The WBSC inaugurated a new Baseball5 field in the Azraq Camp in March, where qualified coaches conduct weekly training sessions with displaced children and games against other local teams are organised. The Legacy Club now also supports Baseball5 activities in the Souf Camp, where a large number of Palestinian refugees reside.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari attended the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) Global Refugee Forum on 13 December in Geneva, Switzerland where the WBSC renewed its commitment to the UNHCR’s Joint Pledge on Sport for Inclusion and Protection, which has five different areas that signatories must meet.

These areas are to:
- Promote an enabling environment that delivers access to safe sport;
- Promote and provide inclusive and safe, sport-based initiatives;
- Promote and provide opportunities for enhanced skills and pathways in and through sport;
- Use targeted communication, evidence and advocacy;
- Strengthen partnerships and coordination efforts.

President Fraccari presented the work of the WBSC Legacy Club, especially the WBSC’s successful work at the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, at a high-level dialogue event on the subject of Breaking Barriers: Realising the Potential of Sport for Inclusion and Protection, which was co-hosted by the Government of Colombia, Scort Foundation, the Olympic Refuge Foundation and the UNHCR.

“The WBSC is committed to maximising our position as the international governing body for baseball/softball to use our sport as a tool to help bridge cultural gaps, improve health and education standards and aid social development around the world,” President Fraccari said. “The work that we have already done at the Azraq Refugee camp in Jordan is a marker of that commitment and with the creation of the WBSC Legacy Club, we will have the ability to carry on with that work and potentially expand our footprint in the future.”

The dialogue event focused on the role that sport organisations, including the WBSC, have played and will continue to play in response to the refugee crisis globally. In addition to the WBSC, a vast range of stakeholders also spoke including World Taekwondo, UEFA and the International Paralympic Committee. IOC President Thomas Bach also provided the opening speech.

The WBSC’s continued work at the Azraq and Souf Refugee Camps in Jordan means it is already meeting the UNHCR’s Joint Pledge on Sport for Inclusion and Protection.

A brand new Baseball5 field was inaugurated in the Azraq Camp in March, where qualified coaches conduct weekly training sessions with displaced children and games against other local teams are organised.

The Legacy Club now also supports Baseball5 activities in the Souf Camp, where a large number of Palestinian refugees reside.

Key Legacy Club Milestones

  • After a first clinic in March organised with international coach Chedli Mokrani from Tunisia, the Legacy Club sent WBSC instructor Andrea d’Auria to do another high-level clinic from 25-29 September for 12 coaches, game officials and practitioners between the Azraq Refugee Club and the near village Balila.
  • The project is expanding to local villages: Balila, Meqbeleh and Summa. The Legacy Club is also supporting Baseball5 activities in the Souf Refugee Camp which is composed by Palestinian Refugees. In Souf Camp, almost all people also have a Jordanian ID/Passport.
  • The Baseball5 Refugee Team’s head coach Amjad Alatoom was invited to the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 Youth World Cup. He participated in Game Officials training and became one of the WBSC Baseball5 international game officials. This gave him the opportunity to officiate during the tournament and learn skills that he could take back to the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. Two other Jordanian coaches attended the tournament and the education classes.
  • The WBSC, together with the Jordanian National Olympic Committee nominated a taskforce of five people to form a National Baseball/Softball Federation in Jordan. Baseball5 will be used as a first tool to further expand baseball/softball in Jordan through schools and to have the first national team formed by the best athletes and coaches of the four villages involved (Balila, Meqbeleh, Summa and Souf).