Message from the WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari on the coronavirus: The strength of the baseball-softball community will help during these unprecedented times

Message from the WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari on the coronavirus: The strength of the baseball-softball community will help during these unprecedented times
19/03/2020
President Fraccari said the WBSC has taken, and will continue to take, all the necessary measures to safeguard the health and welfare of the entire baseball-softball community and continue to act in a responsible manner to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Dear WBSC family,

The coronavirus has created a situation where we are living through uncertain and unprecedented times. During this period, the safety and well-being of the players, the WBSC family and everybody involved in our global sport remains our highest priority. It is also a time when the strength of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) community, and sport as a whole, can help endure these challenging times facing the world.

First and foremost, on behalf of the entire global baseball-softball community, I wish to express my deepest sympathies to everyone -- in and out of our sport -- who has been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Following the guidelines of authorities like the World Health Organization (WHO), please know that the WBSC has taken, and will continue to take, all the necessary measures to safeguard the health and welfare of our entire baseball-softball community and continue to act in a responsible manner to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

As you know, we postponed the two remaining Olympic baseball qualification events to ensure the safety of all participants. Meanwhile, we are working tirelessly, in coordination with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to ensure that our Olympic baseball qualification process is completed, while also preparing for the many end-of-year WBSC events, hand in hand with the Local Organising Committees, as we continue to monitor this rapidly-evolving situation.

During these difficult times, I recognise that concerns have been raised about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The IOC has reiterated their commitment to hosting a safe and secure event, and the WBSC continues to plan accordingly for the Games.

While the health and safety of humanity is the most pressing issue, we all look forward to our beloved sport resuming and being practiced again by millions of players and being watched by millions of fans around the world.

Incidentally, just last week, the WBSC signed an MoU with World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation. I am immensely proud of this initiative which will use the power of sport to encourage education, advance social inclusion, and heal divisions around the world. It is imperative that we continue to promote initiatives such as these, which are essential to foster unity within our communities.

I would also like to express my gratitude to New Zealand for hosting the inaugural U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup last month, and imposing appropriate risk mitigation protocols against the spread of the coronavirus to ensure it was a safe event that certainly boosted the global profile of softball. Congratulations also to Japan for an outstanding unbeaten performance which led to its third title victory in that age group.

This pandemic is certainly bigger than sport, but I would like to urge us all to be inspired by our incredible athletes at such times. In the way that they hold their heads high in times of difficulty. In the way they come back stronger after hardship. And in the way they lean on their teammates for inspiration. I have endless faith in our community, and now, more than ever before, is a time for us to lean on those around us, to care for one another, and to work together.

Riccardo Fraccari
WBSC President