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Sep '13 08

WBSC Set to Highlight How Baseball-Softball Can Serve and Strengthen Olympic Movement in Final Presentation to IOC

Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation

Historic presentation to focus on opportunity to advance the women’s sport and balance Olympic sports program with only bat-and-ball sport – Support of Professional Leagues and Commissioners including MLB’s Bud Selig also to be featured

BUENOS AIRES (ARG) – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has put the finishing touches on its history making presentation to the IOC that will carry the hopes and dreams of millions of boys and girls around the world to represent their country at the Olympic Games.

The presentation will be the first ever from a combined international sports federation – the WBSC – comprising the international baseball and international softball sporting federations which merged earlier this year following recommendations by the IOC.

“The WBSC campaign has focused on how the sports can support the Olympic Movement through the global popularity and financial power that baseball and softball would bring to the Olympic Movement, along with the capacity of softball and baseball to fill many of the biggest venues and stadiums in the world; to provide an electrifying fan experience and spectacle for viewers and broadcasters, and generate record ticket sales, television audience and sponsor appeal; to connect with young people, and provide new pathways into sport for girls and women from all backgrounds, faiths and cultures including Muslim countries, and this will be reflected in our presentation to the IOC,” WBSC co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter said.

“If included, baseball and softball will be the only bat-and-ball sports at the 2020 Olympic Games, helping to provide a wider and more universal presentation of sporing skills, achievements and athletes from more diverse backgrounds at the Games,” the co-Presidents said.

The inclusion of softball will herald a new era of women’s sport at the Olympic Games.

“If included at the 2020 Games, Baseball-Softball will set a historic precedent, establishing women’s softball and men’s baseball as equal partners in an Olympic sport for the first time.”

“This will inspire boys and girls and help to challenge social barriers and stereotypes of gender inequality.”

The WBSC presentation will also demonstrate strong support for the Olympic Games from the leaders of some of the biggest and most commercially successful sporting leagues in the world, including a statement from MLB commissioner Bud Selig, which says in part that, “This is a historic moment …we want to return to the Olympic Games.”

Mr Ryozo Kato, commissioner of the the Nippon Profession Baseball League, said that all the leagues have a very close relationship with the WBSC and was confident professional league players would be able to participate at the Games in 2020 without having to shut the season down.

“There is a very strong desire amongst the leagues to work with the 2020 host city and IOC to ensure there is minimum overlap in the schedules in order to find a realistic solution to enable some of the best players to participate,” he said.

The WBSC is one of three international sporting bodies that will present their case for inclusion at the 2020 Games to the IOC on 8 September in Buenos Aires.

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