Exclusive: IBAF Looks to Push Player Aspect to Enhance 2020 Olympic Bid

By Community | March 4, 2013

By Ismail Uddin

Riccardo Fraccari, president of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), has revealed that the organisation will continue to push the player aspect of their bid as the calibre of international players made available during the Olympics may give them an advantage when it comes to inclusion for the 2020 Olympics.

Fraccari, who has been president of the organisation for over three years, believes the international players in their sport will provide ‘enormous’ value to their bid.

He told iSportconnect exclusively: “We certainly realise the professional baseball players of the world, together with the world’s elite softball players, could bring enormous value and appeal to the Olympic Games and our strategy is to continue highlighting the fact that we enjoy the full support of all the world’s leading professional baseball leagues and we have a powerful youth movement that will continue to render our sport viable into the foreseeable future; this approach is irrespective and independent of other factors.”

IBAF last year announced a merger with the International Softball Federation (ISF) to enhance their bid and Fraccari believes this will provide a unique aspect to their bid.

“Most important for us at the moment is doing everything we can to demonstrate to the IOC that baseball and softball together add unique value to the Olympic Games. 

“We felt good about our first joint presentation to the Programme Commission and feel confident that men’s baseball and women’s softball are worthy of consideration for their global popularity in terms of participation levels, fan and media interest, the important issue of gender equity, as well as their enormous commercial power and strength.”

Fraccari also stated that he sees rival bids as more of a ‘challenge’ rather than competition.

“I do not necessarily consider it a competition; it is more a welcomed challenge to see whether we can put together a proposal that compliments the existing global attractiveness of the Olympic Programme and the growth and direction of the Olympic movement.”

IBAF’s joint bid with the ISF faces stiff competition from Squash, Karate, Sports Climbing, Roller Sports, Wushu, Wakeboarding and Wrestling.

Read Riccardo Fraccari’s full exclusive interview with iSportconnect here>>

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