The International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation have ratified a new constitution to unite the governing bodies as a single organization to be known as the World Baseball Softball Confederation. In addition, the entities have launched a website, playball2020.com, to promote their efforts to be included on the program at the 2020 Olympic Summer Games.
“This is a historic day,” said Riccardo Fraccari, IBAF president and WBSC co-president. “We have brought a new level of worldwide unity and determination to our quest to return to the Games. The 65 million currently playing baseball and softball around the world now have a single federation to rally behind.”
The WBSC also outlined its vision for the Olympics campaign. “Our vision is to give every boy and girl in the world a chance to play baseball and softball and to inspire them to take up the sport through the Olympic Games,” said Don Porter, ISF president and WBSC co-president. “Baseball-softball is a game that anyone, anywhere can play. There are no barriers to participation. If you’ve got a bat and ball you can play, regardless of age, gender, social, cultural or economic stature.
Baseball and softball were last played at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. The sports will be considered for inclusion at the 2020 Games later this year. In May, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board will recommend up to three sports to be added to one available spot in 2020. The other sports vying for inclusion are karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding, wrestling and wushu. A final vote is expected in November.
In announcing the new federation, the WBSC also revealed the theme for its Olympic Games campaign, “Swing for the Fences,” urging baseball and softball players, supporters and teams to rally behind the Olympic Games bid.