Exclusive: Baseball and Softball’s 2020 Olympic Games bid Making ‘historical strides’

May 21, 2013

By Steve Moorhouse

The President of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) believes that the merged bid between baseball and softball to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games is making ‘historical strides.’

Baseball/softball joins wushu, buy roller sports, sport climbing, karate, squash, wakeboarding and wrestling in an attempt for Olympic recognition, although each sport will make a 30 minute presentation at the SportAccord Convention this month to try and keep their place on the shortlist.

There have been reports that only three sports will remain after the SportAccord cut, but IBAF President Riccardo Fraccari is confident baseball/softball wont remain in contention after the event.

Speaking exclusively to iSportconnect, Fraccari said: “We have listened very carefully to the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli and Sport Director Christophe Dubi and their teams under President Rogge, and to the wider Olympic Family, in order to structure our proposal for the best of the Olympic Movement and to provide our athletes a gateway to excellence.

“Since the 2005 decision to remove baseball and softball from the programme, we have made historical strides and have taken calculated measures.”

Fraccari believed that the merger with softball increased ‘universality, inclusiveness and gender equity’ which would boost their bid in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“This innovative approach is much wider and far more attractive than the IBAF’s and ISF’s separate 2016 bids,” said Fraccari.

“During our time away from the Olympics, we have advanced our sport across the board, generating massive viewership across large spectator stadiums and across TV, digital and social media platforms.

“This underlines the short- and long-term viability of baseball and softball during uncertain economic times and underlines their ability to stay modern, progressive and most importantly remain relevant and attractive to today’s youth.”

The baseball/softball bid had recently been boosted by Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman backing their bid to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games.

The presentations at the SportAccord Convention will take place on May 29 in St. Petersburg.

Read a full interview with Riccardo Fraccari here

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