Baseball, softball await IOC feedback
Baseball and softball’s joint campaign to return to the Olympics in 2020 is awaiting feedback from an IOC board meeting.
Leaders of the two governing bodies met with senior Olympic officials Thursday to discuss merging into one federation and bringing Major League Baseball players to the games.
International Baseball Federation President Riccardo Fraccari said Friday that legal questions over the likely merger is the main issue.
”As soon as we solve this problem, I don’t think there is any others,” Fraccari told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. ”We are waiting for the executive board of the IOC.”
The IOC’s executive board meets May 23-25 during the six-day SportAccord convention of world sports leaders in Quebec City.
International Softball Federation President Don Porter said he was ”cautiously optimistic” for the bid’s chances after the meeting at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
”We didn’t finalize anything because we have some things that have to be done by the end of next month,” Porter said. ”There can only be one federation and there’s two parties involved here.”
Porter said a new name following the expected merger has yet to be agreed upon.
The absence of MLB stars from previous Olympic Games was a factor in baseball being cut from the program in a 2005 vote of IOC members. Softball also was cut in the vote, which affected both sports.
”I don’t think it’s a requirement (for the bid to succeed), but it’s something they would like to see,” Porter acknowledged.
Softball was on the program from 1996-2008, with the U.S. team winning three gold medals and a silver.
IOC members will vote in September 2013 to add one more sport on the 2020 Olympic program.
Baseball and softball, which were last played as medal events at the 2008 Beijing Games, are competing with karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu.
As separate bids, the two sports failed to return for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Instead, golf and seven-a-side rugby were approved.