WBSC Europe holds second Congress, confirms exciting future ahead

WBSC Europe holds second Congress, confirms exciting future ahead
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari attended the WBSC Europe Congress in Vilnius, Lithuania and stressed to delegates the importance of continuing to explore new opportunities.

VILNIUS, Lithuania – European members of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) gathered in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius for the second WBSC Europe Congress, which was held over four days from Thursday through Sunday.

Following its first ever Congress in Athens in February last year, Vilnius provided further opportunity for members from across Europe to align on key objectives and processes as the WBSC, its confederations and national federations look to grow the sports of Baseball, Softball and Baseball5. A total of 33 national federations attended the Congress providing valuable feedback and input on strategy and vision.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari attended the Congress, along with WBSC Executive Director Michael Schmidt, and stressed to delegates the importance of continuing to explore new opportunities to grow despite the significant progress made recently by the WBSC across its international properties Baseball, Softball and Baseball5. In a year, which is headlined by Baseball and Softball’s return to the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020, WBSC’s latest discipline Baseball5 was also confirmed as part of the Youth Olympic Games programme at Dakar 2022, providing more opportunities for member federations to participate on the world’s global stage.

“WBSC is one of the fastest growing international sports federations and we are proud of the achievements made to date, however the work must continue in order to provide more opportunities for people all over the world to play our beautiful sport,” President Fraccari said. “So my presence in Vilnius was to illustrate how important the WBSC Confederations and member federations are in this process.

“Good governance, transparency and innovation are three principles, which the WBSC values greatly and which are aligned with the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020,” President Fraccari added. “And this week’s WBSC Europe Congress was also a good opportunity to remind the WBSC family of how important it is we must continue to strive in this direction. We have an exciting future ahead and WBSC Europe and the other WBSC Confederations all have a crucial role to play in it.”

WBSC Europe discussed its major events in 2020 starting with the first ever continental Baseball5 championships, which will take place in Vilnius from 28 February to 1 March and will act as a qualifier for the inaugural WBSC Baseball5 World Cup, which will take place in Mexico at the end of the year.

The WBSC Europe Congress also received a report from the WBSC Paralympic Commission together with the Italian Association of Baseball Played by the Blind (AIBXC) on Baseball for the Blind. After presenting at last year’s World Congress in Japan, Baseball for the Blind is receiving strong interest from countries which are looking to provide new opportunities for vision-impaired people to play sport and have fun.

President Fraccari’s presence in Vilnius was honoured by the Lithuania Olympic Committee (LTOK) President Daina Gudzineviciute, who bestowed the LTOK medal on him for his work in promoting international Baseball, Softball and Baseball5, having also met with the Lithuanian vice minister of sport and education Kornelija Tiesnesytė.

It completed a week-long trip across Europe for President Fraccari after meeting with the Serbian Olympic Committee (OKS) Vice President Zarko Zecevic and Executive Director Damir Steiner at the start of the week for talks on the future and value of baseball and softball in the Olympics, Baseball5 and a potential project to construct a new baseball/softball facility in Novi Sad, Serbia, with the national federations serving as strong partners to grow sport and athletes in the country. This followed meetings with Novi Sad mayor Milos Vucevic and the Serbian Baseball Federation President Milan Zonic and Serbian Softball President Slobodan Djuric.

The next WBSC Europe Congress in 2021 was confirmed for Rome, Italy.