Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Baseball makes IOC shortlist for 2020 Olympics

Baseball was one of eight sports selected by the IOC Executive Board for evaluation.

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By IBAF Writing Staff, Tues, July 05, 2011

DURBAN, South Africa—After six hours of Executive Board meetings and leading up to the 123rd International Olympic Committee Session, IOC President Jacques Rogge headed a press conference last night where he announced that eight sports would be put under evaluation for possible inclusion onto the Summer Programme of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Baseball, Karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu were among the sports shortlisted, while bowling, dance, netball and surfing were cut from the initial list of 12 sports.

"Obviously, the current IBAF administration is very happy with the announcement of the IOC, but as we have learned from the past, this is only the first step of a very long and hard road,” said International Baseball Federation President Riccardo Fraccari in response to receiving the official news that baseball made the shortlist.

The IOC Executive Board confirmed that its members analyzed baseball, softball and all other prospective sports separately in generating the shortlist, while also confirming that only one of these sports could be added to the 2020 Olympic Programme.

IOC President Rogge indicated in the press conference that the Executive Board did not examine the “potential” for a joint-bid by the international baseball and softball federations.

However, President Rogge pointed out that this does not eliminate the possibility for the International Softball Federation and International Baseball Federation to “merge” their efforts into a single bid at a future time.

According to IBAF President Fraccari, the merger would be the most effective way to wage a campaign.

“It is now important that baseball and softball come up with a joint project as soon as possible to combine efforts and increase the odds of returning onto the Olympic Programme—it is our obligation to consider the best interests of our sports," stated Fraccari. 

President Fraccari also suggested that “together, baseball and softball meet all the requirements for inclusion onto the Olympic Programme.”

The final decision on which sport will be included will be voted upon in September 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.