The European Softball Federation held their annual congress in Lausanne, Switzerland last weekend. Totoni Sanna, who was elected as 1st Vice President, was so kind to answer a few questions after the assembly.
Mister Baseball: Congratulations for being elected 1st Vice President of the European Softball Federation. What do you do in this role?
Totoni Sanna: Thanks for the congratulations. I would also like to thank president Van Overbeek for suggesting me as the first vice president and my colleagues from the EC for supporting me.
Beyond the tasks assigned to me by the statute, those that state the vice president will substitute the president in the case of his absence, all of the main roles will be assigned in the next days by each of the components executives. We are defining the program for the next four years and in base of the program we will see how to subdivide what work needs to be done.
MRBB: How is European Softball developing in the past few years and what are the major problems?
TS: If we take a look at the number of teams competing in the various championships, I can say that the last four years should be considered positive.
We increased the number of teams participating, the number of games and also the number of tournaments. The last year was the first year for the women’s under 22 championships. To have 8 national teams at the first edition, I consider it a good start.
There still are however a few problems to be resolved, and we will search to work in those areas. To start from the communication with the federations, moving on to projects to be developed and personal assistance because every single federation presents different problems.
MRBB: The ISF seeks independent softball federations. This was probably one of the main topics at the assembly. What are the European Softball Federations think about it in general and what position has the ESF?
TS: I think that there are federations where the division of baseball and softball is not possible because of national regulations. I believe that the ISF is doing everything possible to bring back softball to the Olympics, but where there exists a lot of doubt in the division of the two sports, I don’t believe anything can be done, as long as they don’t want to risk their membership with the ISF.
MRBB: So, the federations risk their membership in the ISF, if they don’t become independent softball federations?
TS: They do not risk their membership, although the statute of ISF says that the Federation affiliated to ISF must no have any other sport in their Federation.
I guess that we have to think that the development of softball non-depend from the structure of the federation, but from the people that are working in it.
MRBB: ISF president Don Porter was as a guest at the ESF congress. What did he say and would he even consider withdrawing his plans?
TS: Like I said before, Porter and the ISF are trying in every way to bring softball back to the Olympics. As far as his personal opinion and considerations on this matter, I believe it is more appropriate to ask directly to Mr. Porter.
MRBB: The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) with President Dr. Harvey Schiller would like to bring Baseball and Softball together back to the Olympics. Is the ISF or the ESF talking with Baseball representatives and would they consider this suggestion?
TS: Mr. Miller’s position is surely agreeable. I think that both, IBAF and ISF, must speak in major part with Europe, at the moment in which fifty percent of the members CIO are European. I believe we need to realize and become aware that our points in common – together they can be valuable to help bring back softball for the 2016 Olympics.
MRBB: Besides the Olympics and independent softball federations, what were the other topics at the ESF congress?
TS: Being an elective congress, the programs were talked a lot about. The commissions done the day before in congress are used to analyze very well the problems related to the tournaments and development for the next four years.
On the tournaments, considering the growing number of participating teams, the congress asked the new executive to produce a new structure for the competitions before June of 2009.
Photo: © Nuoro Softball