Baseball and softball set to hold talks on joint Olympic bid at SportAccord
Sunday, 03 April 2011
April 3 - Baseball and softball's international federations are set to meet here this week to discuss a possible joint proposal to get their sports back onto the Olympic programme for 2020.
The federations have issued a joint statement revealing that they have been analysing potential savings that could come from sharing an Olympic venue and housing at the Olympic Village in 2020, factors which they believe would considerably boost their chances of winning back their places in the Games.
Both sports were dropped from the Olympics for London 2012 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its Session in Singapore in 2005.
Attempts by both sports to regain their places on the programme for Rio 2016 also failed when they were overlooked for golf and rugby sevens.
Key officials from the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) are planning to schedule meetings during this week's SportAccord international convention, which features a meeting of the IOC's ruling Executive Board.
"Should an agreement be reached to work together, the ISF and the IBAF believe that they would be able to demonstrate compelling reasons why, under such a proposal, their respective sports should be reinstated onto the Olympic programme," they said in their statement.
"The IBAF and the ISF would work closely with the IOC to assure that any joint proposal would accomplish their goals in a manner that complies with the Olympic Charter."
The move represents a major U-turn from softball.
Only last August the ISF turned down an approach from the IBAF to put in a joint bid to try to regain their places on the programme for 2020.
"The ISF has always acted as an independent sport, and presently plans to continue that internationally accepted practice," the ISF President wrote to his counterpart at the IBAF, Riccardo Fraccari.
Porter insisted that softball - which was played by women only at four Olympics from 1996-2008- could succeed alone.
"Softball, on its own, meets all criteria for inclusion as an Olympic medal sport," he said.
"Softball has been an independently governed sport for many years and its independent and separate proposal was accepted in 1991 by the IOC when softball was added to the Olympic programme."
Among the reasons that the ISF rejected the overtures last August from baseball was because they feared the baseball's poor record on drugs would jeopardise their chances.
August 2010: Softball turns down baseball offer to work together for Olympic reinclusion
January 2010: Baseball refuse to give up on Olympic 2016 dream
October 2009: Softball plans to rebrand after Olympic failure
October 2009: Golf and rugby added to Olympic programme for Rio 2016
October 2009: Matt Smith - Baseball's future brighter without the Olympics