President Riccardo Fraccari issues Statement to emphasize Importance of Women’s Baseball
The President of the International Baseball Federation, Riccardo Fraccari, issued the following statement leading up to the July 30th IBAF Executive Meeting that will take place in Panama City:
“As has been well publicized in the media after the decision of the Olympic Council of Asia to accept softball onto the Asian Games’ program as a discipline of baseball, there have been some recent developments and discussions with regards to our colleagues from the International Softball Federation (ISF). Of course, this important theme will need to be expanded upon in Panama and at the eventual Congress later this year, although currently, it is safe to say that there is a general consensus among IBAF’s constituents to work with the ISF to solidify the 2020 Olympic Reinstatement Campaign, especially after the OCA announcement. At this point, I would like, however, to bring attention to and underline the IBAF’s commitment to women’s baseball, which seems to have been overshadowed in all of this.
“First off, I would like to clarify that any eventual single candidature between baseball and softball for the 2020 Olympics will not undermine IBAF’s plans to sustain and develop women’s baseball. There is no doubt that women’s baseball will have to play an important role if our sport is to become truly universal. Thankfully, Women’s Baseball within the framework of the IBAF is well-positioned for growth, and as a result, the IBAF remains devoted as ever in developing baseball among female athletes of all ages.
“The IBAF International Events Calendar will be one of the most important agenda items analyzed in Panama City. I can confirm that new projects are being examined, including the realization of a Women’s World Junior Baseball Championship. I do not want to go into too much detail during the conception phases, but it’s worth noting that there have been dialogues about organizing continental championships in order to further stimulate growth and meet the needs of all our athletes. The Toronto 2015 Pan-Am Games Local Organizing Committee is developing a sound proposal for Women’s Baseball to be put onto that program in Toronto, and we will be paying close attention to the decision on this important matter.
“Looking into the 2012 Women’s Baseball World Cup, Baseball Canada has been awarded the rights to host this event, as this competition returns to Edmonton, the city where this event was born back in 2004. Obviously, without looking past this event, I would like to simply point out that there have already been overtures to host the 2014 Women’s Baseball World Cup, so the IBAF will need to take this into consideration as events are mapped out over the long-term.
“Regarding non-IBAF sanctioned Women’s Baseball events, the IBAF commissioned the creation of the Phoenix Cup “Defender” Trophy, which was donated to our colleagues at the Hong Kong Baseball Association in an effort to help build a tradition. This trophy was first put into play this year, and in 2012, the tradition of defending the trophy can begin.
“So this is no doubt an exciting time for women’s baseball and for women in sport in general, and the IBAF is intent on providing as many opportunities as possible to all the athletes in the international sports community and especially within our international baseball family.”
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Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.