The third WBSC Congress was held last week in Sakai, Japan.
There were representatives of both softball and baseball from all over the world. We’ve picked out the most important news related to our sport or our region to keep you informed.
A complete calendar of the 2020 competitions was confirmed. The Olympics will be the event of all events, of course. There will be no senior World Cups, however WBSC will organize the first-ever U-18 Softball World Cups, both for Men and Women. The U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup will be held in New Zealand, from 22 February to 1 March, with the participation of 12 teams (Czech Republic and Denmark for Europe). Meanwhile, the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup will be played in Lima, Peru, marking the first-ever softball World Cup held in the South American nation (Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic).
Earlier announced Slowpitch World Cup didn’t make it to the 2020 calendar. So Slowpitch fans will have to dream on.
Multiple individual awards were presented at the Congress, only one of them was addressed to European region, more specifically to the scorer of the year (2018) - Linda Steijger (The Netherlands), for her support in drafting the Scorer's Manual.
The Czech Republic was given special recognition for organizing the Men’s Softball Championship.
A very special presentation was showcased by the Italian Association Baseball Played By The Blind which also provides federations with a Paralympic opportunity going forward.
The Olympic softball event will officially open the competitions on 22 July. The six-team competition will be played from 22-28 July in Fukushima and Tokyo. Six teams will participate: Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, USA.
“We’re working very closely with the International Olympic Committee. We’re very close to have perfect conditions and be ready for the Games in less than one year,” said Schmidt.
The softball competition will be a six-team tournament playing a regular round robin, with the first and second teams competing for the gold medal, and third and fourth place playing for bronze.
„The Test Event was held in Fukushima from 5 - 6 October, with four games of the Japanese Women’s Softball League. The field looked in a very good condition, and WBSC had the opportunity to test its operational plan, with excellent results in general term,“ Schmidt said.
“We’re positive that the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG), together with the WBSC, will deliver very good Olympic Games, especially for our sports, so the fans and our athletes can enjoy a once in a lifetime experience.”
National Federations submitted a total of 90 different projects to the WBSC Development Commission throughout the period of 2018-2019 of which 75 (83%) were accepted and funded, and only four rejected, while 11 projects are still going through the approval process.
The majority of the requests (39) came from European National Federations, while 20 came from Africa, 12 from Asia, 10 from the Americas and nine from Oceania.
A new scoring and game-management system was presented by WBSC. The system should be made available for regional confederations, and national federations. If the system is available soon enough, official softball competitions in Europe may switch on to the WBSC system for the 2020 season already.