WBSC Europe applauds baseball/softball’s international growth and innovation in Malaga Congress

WBSC Europe applauds baseball/softball’s international growth and innovation in Malaga Congress
10/02/2024
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari addressed the Congress and said: “On 10 May we will celebrate the 10-year WBSC anniversary with World Baseball Softball Day. We also have many exciting projects to celebrate such as Baseball5’s popularity, the new Baseball Champions League, WBSC Legacy Club and WBSC’s leading role in eSport within the Olympic Movement as well as our Olympic Games journey with Brisbane 2032 the next goal.”

WBSC Europe looked back on an impressive year of events in 2023 and an exciting future for the sport of baseball/softball at its 2024 Congress in Malaga, Spain on Saturday.

The 48 (out of possible 52) National Federations reflected on another busy year of events with 26 tournaments (13 baseball and softball tournaments each, which included the European Baseball Championship, Men's European Softball Championship, European Baseball5 Championship and Blind Baseball European Championship 2023) while the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage was also successfully held on European soil in Ireland, Spain and Italy as well as the WBSC Youth Baseball5 World Cup in Türkiye.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari addressed the members and reminded the congress of all the exciting projects taking international baseball and softball to new levels around the world.

“In this precious moment, the WBSC has much to celebrate, but two important milestones come to my mind - 10 years of life of the WBSC and the return of baseball & softball in the Olympic Programme of LA 2028,” WBSC President said. “From two separate international federations in 2013 to a united international governing body for baseball and softball, the WBSC is now one big family and WBSC Europe is a key part of that.

“It was not easy to put together the international baseball and softball federations that for decades followed different and sometimes contrasting paths, but today we can say that all the perplexities and doubts that some had at the beginning of this journey have been overcome.

“On 10 May - the 10-year WBSC anniversary - we will celebrate this unity with World Baseball Softball Day. We also have many exciting projects to celebrate such as Baseball5’s popularity, the new Baseball Champions League, WBSC Legacy Club and WBSC’s leading role in eSport within the Olympic Movement as well as our Olympic Games journey with Brisbane 2032 the next goal.”

The WBSC’s Head of Member Relations Department Francesca Fabretto and Special Projects coordinator Yoori Jung also gave a presentation on the Member’s Handbook while WBSC Head of Special Projects Valerio Cianfoni updated the Congress on the rapid development of the WBSC's eSport discipline with the first-ever WBSC eBASEBALL™ Series World Finals taking place in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 9.

WBSC Europe President Kruno Karin opened the Congress highlighting the continent’s growth in all areas while applauding France on becoming the first European nation to become No. 1 in the WBSC/KONAMI World Rankings in Baseball5.

“My congratulations to France for showcasing what is possible,” Karin said. “Europe is growing well in Baseball, Softball and Baseball5. Numbers in baseball especially are showing that it can be a big sport in our continent,” he added.

Meanwhile, the results of the elections were the following:

WBSC Europe Hall of Fame
- Softball Players Cornelia Chwojka (AUT) & Theourania Zavitsanou (GRE)
- Softball Coach Dionysis Chorafas (GRE)
- Baseball Administrator - Luis Angel Melero Martin (ESP), Stamos “Tom” Mazarakis (GRE)

WBSC Europe Executive Board
- Baseball5 Vice President - Youri Alkalay (BUL)
- Member at Large for Baseball - Pawel Szczepanik (POL)
- Member at Large Softball - Konstantinos Liarommatis (GRE)

In other business, the promo video for the WBSC Women's Softball World Cup Finals was unveiled while Zagreb, Croatia was confirmed as the host of the next Congress in 2025.