New international competition plan for baseball

IBAF meeting in Dallas announces that the World Baseball Classic in 2013 will be a World Championship

HAVANA (December 8, 2011) – THE International Baseball Federation (IBAF) has announced a new system of international competitions beginning in 2012, designating the World Classic as its principal event.

Meeting in Dallas, Texas, December 1-4, representatives of 63 national federations participated in the 26th Congress of the organization which additionally discussed the reincorporation of baseball into the Olympic program, as well as the financial situation.

IBAF President Riccardo Fraccari, from Italy, was emphatic when he explained on the organization’s website, “There has been talk of the elimination of the IBAF Baseball World Cup. Not so; the Baseball World Classic has been redefined as a World Championship, as opposed to an invitational tournament.”

The Classic’s third edition will take place in March of 2013. Classificatory competition will be held in the fall of 2012, with 16 teams divided into four groups. After a two round elimination series, winners in each group will join 12 seeded teams to play for the Championship.

The 16 teams which will attempt to qualify are Germany, Brazil, Canada, Taipei, Colombia, Spain, the Philippines, France, Great Britain, Israel, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, the Czech Republic, South Africa and Thailand. The 12 seeded teams are Japan, South Korea, Cuba, United States, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Holland, Puerto Rico, Australia, Mexico, Italy and China.

The Congress approved a schedule of competition for 2012 which includes the AAA World Cup (below 18), the AA World Cup (which has been for players below 16 years of age, but will now be designated below 15) and the World Women’s Cup.

The IBAF approved two new tournaments, the Under 21 World Cup in 2014 – to take place every two years and the IBAF Premiere 12, a tournament of the best 12 major teams world-wide – scheduled for 2015, to be held every four years.

Fraccari commented that the challenges facing baseball at the international level are numerous and difficult, including the restructuring and improvement of championships; baseball’s return to the Olympics; the promotion and development of the sport where it has little presence; as well as the reorganization of continental federations.

Additionally announced was a message from the World Anti-Doping Agency which recognized the IBAF’s program combating doping as in compliance with the International Olympic Committee’s expectations. (AIN)

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