WBSC Executive Board discusses success of Tokyo Olympics and other key events as baseball, softball continue to grow, innovate

WBSC Executive Board discusses success of Tokyo Olympics and other key events as baseball, softball continue to grow, innovate
04/10/2021
The completion on Saturday of the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup in Mexico was celebrated as the first Baseball World Cup in two years and the first to feature seven-inning games.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Executive Board reviewed a “very successful” last few months for global baseball and softball, especially the significant staging of the baseball and softball tournaments at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, during a virtual meeting held on Monday.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari congratulated all the teams who participated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and thanked all the participants for putting on a great spectacle in what proved to be a “gripping tournament”.

“The competition was very successful, all the games were extremely close and of a high level with lots of positive feedback. I congratulate all the teams, as we showed our sport is a good fit for the Olympic Games. Tokyo 2020 showed that baseball and softball has all the requirements, not only to be in Los Angeles 2028 but to be a permanent fixture on the Olympic programme.”

Executive Board members from Japan - Taeko Utsugi, Hiromi Tokuda and Hiroko Yamada – thanked the WBSC and its members for putting on what they called “the best possible baseball and softball events during Tokyo 2020”.

“On behalf of the Japan Softball Association, the Baseball Federation of Japan and tens of millions of baseball and softball fans in Japan, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of you. In spite of the pandemic, you mustered all your powers to make baseball and softball two of the most successful events in the Tokyo Olympics.

“Our athletes put on an outstanding performance and demonstrated great value of our sports even without spectators. In the era when society is so divided, they showed us the essential values of our sports - passion, excitement, inspiration, unity, teamwork and mutual respect.”

In addition to softball and baseball at Tokyo 2020, Baseball5 also featured on the side lines of the Paralympic Games in the Tokyo 2020 Fan Park, while baseball was included in the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series in June.

The completion on Saturday of the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup in Mexico was celebrated as the first Baseball World Cup in two years and the first to feature seven-inning games. “This new regulation, which we introduced to provide even more dynamic games, worked well. We saw plenty of action from the opening pitch, which could change the way international baseball is played going forward,” President Fraccari said. 

Meanwhile, President Fraccari described his visit – as part of a WBSC delegation - to the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) 40th Anniversary Ceremony and its 56th Ordinary Session Executive Committee Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria last week as very encouraging.

“I would like to thank ANOCA President Mustapha Berraf and ANOCA Secretary General Ahmed Abou Elgasim Hashim for inviting the WBSC to speak with the ANOCA family about Baseball5,” President Fraccari told the Board. “Africa welcomed the opportunity to embrace Baseball5 and use it as a tool to get kids and adults active. The WBSC’s goal is to have African teams competing at a high level when Baseball5 makes its Youth Olympic Games debut at Dakar2026.”

The WBSC delegation met with African IOC Members, NOC Presidents and National Federation leaders to discuss further opportunities to grow Baseball5 and WBSC membership across the continent, with a particular focus on the countries that will host multisport games in the coming years.

Discussions with OlympAfrica Executive Director Thieno Diack and Tegla Loroupe, the founder of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, also proved fruitful with the possibility of school and refugee programmes to be explored in the future.

Meanwhile, the Board also approved a set of updates to the WBSC Statutes and Code of Divisions, including a new Conflict of Interest Policy to enhance the WBSC’s governance standards, which will now be submitted to the attention of the WBSC Extraordinary Congress to be held on December 18, 2021.

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