|Baseball & Softball Olympic Reinstatement Close|
Thursday, 29 March 2012 10:27
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) are close to agreeing the structure of a joint bid for a place on the programme for the 2020 Olympic Games.
IBAF president Riccardo Fraccari said that the proposal would be finalised between the two bodies at a meeting with ISF president Don Porter in Moscow on April 11 and then a presentation would be made to the International Olympic Committee on April 19 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC voted to throw the two sports off the Olympic programme in July 2005, and the last appearance of baseball and softball at the Games was at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. As separate bids, the two sports then failed to make it onto the programme of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“We’re working out the final details,” IBAF president Riccardo Fraccari said, according to the Associated Press. “The presidency [of the bid committee] will rotate year to year.” However, Fraccari admitted he has been unable to secure a guarantee that Major League Baseball stars would be given time off by the league to play in the Olympics. “Stopping the season is impossible. But that’s not what I’m asking for,” Fraccari said. “If we could just get one or two players per team, that could be enough.”
MLB International managing director Clive Russell said: “We would like to see baseball back in the Olympics... I think we should let these guys finish their negotiations before we make any formal comment. There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that need to come into place to have that discussion.” The IOC will vote on one new sport for the 2020 Olympic programme in September 2013. Baseball and softball are up against karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu.