News


2017-04-07

WBSC insist second Tokyo venue vital for realistic Olympic format
 InsidetheGames,  at the Scandinavian Center in Aarhus, Denmark, Thursday, 6 April 2017



World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari still maintains that another Tokyo 2020 venue is required in order to ensure a realistic competition formatHe hopes that organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will still agree to utilise the Chiba Marine Stadium close to the Makuhari Messe venue for taekwondo, fencing and wrestlingIt was confirmed at last month's IOC Executive Board meeting in Pyeongchang that the Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima will host at least one gameThe WBSC hope that it will be the first game in order to reduce the logistical impact of 320 kilometres travel timesThe Yokohama Stadium is the principal venue and is currently set to host all other matchesOrganisers and the IOC had given the impression that the door was completely closed for considering any other venueBut Fraccari, speaking here at the SportAccord Convention, insists that having two venues in the Tokyo venues is vital for a format consisting of one six-team groupHe opposes an alternative format consisting of two group of three because it could mean that a team is mathematically eliminated after just one game"We gave some suggestions to them [Tokyo], discussions are ongoing, and it is in the best interests of the game to find a solution," he said.He appeared to accept that they will have only six teams in both men's baseball and women's softball events - rather than the initial proposal of eightBut no deal over the participation of Major League Baseball (MLB) teams is likely until the format has been finalised"I met with the MLB last week, but we have to finalise the format and this is the main problem," Fraccari added"This is the most important thing."I need to give them details, but I'm confident we will find a positive solution."rnThe WBSC hopes to approve a format in which round-robin games will take place over five daysA rest day with then taken place before gold and bronze medal ties to complete a seven day tournamentSoftball would be expected to take place in the first week of the Games before baseball is held in the secondA qualifying format is also yet to be confirmedJapan will have one place, as hosts.Asia should get one other, the Americas would get two, and then Europe, Africa and Oceania will vie for the others, although it is possible there could be some sort of world qualifying eventThe WBSC believe baseball will be one of the main attractions of the Tokyo 2020 programmernIt is also possible that a world qualifying tournament could take placeFraccari also claims to have reluctantly accepted a situation where the WBSC gets no share of the revenue distribution from the Games despite being expected to be one of the most commercially lucrative sports on the programme"We knew this was the case in advance and it is something we have to face," he said"The benefits of getting on the Olympic programme are very important"To be able to be there gets us more money from NOCs and Olympic Solidarity."rnHowever, he hopes that a different system would be applied if the sport is chosen again for the 2024 Games"We hope that things will change," he saidrn