After a dramatically bad year for his Olympic aspirations, Italian federation president Riccardo FRACCARI came to the first federation meeting in 2008 with a surprise message. In Caserta, where besides the coach clinic also the FIBS parliament was hosted in Crown Plaza hotel, FRACCARI announced last weekend that Italian baseball – without playing – is back in European A category.
The Azzurri degradation in the European Championship tournament in Barcelona apparently was cancelled by a visit to IBAF office in Lausanne. The official FIBS website is already planning re-considerations for the national championship, now that Italy certainly needs no B-games anymore to qualify for the real championship tournament for A countries. The present Serie A1 scheme leaves two weekends free for the national team to participate in B-country games, but according to FIBS those four days can be used in an alternative way.
KNBSB president Ruud VAN ZETTEN is surprised by this news from Italy. According to VAN ZETTEN there is no official IBAF or CEB decision funding the notes released by FRACCARI. He wonders about the appeals, all denied by competent instances in Barcelona, now being dealt with by a special IBAF committee. All parties involved suppose to be heard by this committee. These parties are Italy and Spain (concerning Brant UST playing for Great Britain), Czechia (concerning sanctions for improper pro players insurance) and Netherlands having appealed about Venezuela born Giovanni CARRARA playing for Italy. KNBSB has even delivered a principal request to review regulations in order to avoid exceptions. VAN ZETTEN underlines that his federation has not yet received an IBAF invitation for such hearing session.
On the contrary FRACCARI explained about his bilateral demarches to IBAF offices in Philadelphia (USA) and Lausanne (Switzerland). First he obtained a place for Italy in the reorganisation of IBAF world council and back on our continent he discussed Italy’s appeal in the UST case. According to FRACCARI this protest was recognized as legitimate, so that Italy regained it’s A-category position in Europe. In Lausanne, FRACCARI even dared to discuss Italy’s right to participate in the March qualifying tournament in Taiwan for the Beijing Olympics. In this case, however, he had to admit that Italy’s perspectives were improbable.
For good order’s sake, FRACCARI added that IBAF reserved the right to take definite decisions during its board meeting in Lausanne on February 4. Although he needs collaboration by the Netherlands and five other European countries in his World Cup 2009 aspirations, FRACCARI has chosen to get his business settled touring around as a soloist. As a matter of fact, he made his website assistant write down, that he had used his international credits on behalf of his baseball and softball movement.
Only a few details still have to be discussed before IBAF will give World Cup 2009 organisation in Italian hands. This decision has to be taken by IBAF executive board meeting in Italy in the first half of March. FRACCARI’s intended collaboration with the Netherlands and other European countries has to be fundamental for a better insight for IOC members in Europe. FRACCARI’s next step will be collaboration with Spain to attract World Cup softball for the first time ever to Europe. This is how one can take advantage from Italy’s pre-Olympic defeats in Ronchi dei Legionari and Barcelona.
This development would also mean that the Great Britain would be relegated among the Czech Republic into pool B. This could deliver another blow for the British Baseball Federation after the withdrawal of their participation at the Olympic Qualifier in Taiwan.
Pim van Nes
Baseball writer for