Joint Olympic bid from baseball and softball can set a precedent says ISF President
Thursday, 24 May 2012
May 24 - Don Porter, the President of the International Softball Federation (ISF), believes that the joint bid from baseball and softball to get included on the Olympic Games programme could set a precedent for allowing sports to come together and cooperate more closely in the Olympic Movement.
Baseball and softball are looking to put together a joint bid to get on the Olympic programme which is currently at a crucial stage with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board having deferred a decision on whether to approve it.
Both sports are hopeful that the joint bid will be approved and Porter says that there could be huge benefits for other sports if the move is given the green light.
"Hopefully the IOC will be able to confirm as soon as possible if softball and baseball are able to have a joint bid and we must wait for that before we can do anything else," he told insidethegames.
"I think that if it is accepted, it could open the door for other sports.
"There are good sports out there and combining with other good sports and sharing their resources can only make them better.
"In my opinion, that is a huge plus for the Olympic Movement.
"That is obviously something for the IOC to consider and it would be a huge move but there are issues.
"There are a lot of technical complexities and even if the IOC does decide that a joint bid is welcome, we and the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) would have to think hard about the best way to move forwards."
Both softball and baseball were dropped from the Olympic programme ahead of London 2012 and they face several challenges in returning to the Games.
Softball (pictured above) face the problem of being a female-only sport with IOC looking for more gender equality in the Olympics while baseball (pictured below) must release their top Major League Baseball (MLB) players for the Games, which they were criticised for not doing last time.
The pair are working on solving the problem but Porter admitted that the two sports must maintain their independence from each other if their bid is successful.
"We definitely do not want to lose our identity but I think there are huge positives from collaborating both for our sport and to baseball," he said.
"We want to try and do that while making sure that our sport is still softball rather than being considered as women's baseball.
"That cannot be the case.
"Baseball approached us about this and our members are supportive of us moving ahead to see if we can work something out but this rests in the hands of the IOC."
"But we cannot confirm this as it depends on the discussions," said IOC sports director Christophe Dubi.
"We are still at the early stages of this but there are really three options.
"They could bid as individual sports, they could bid together under one federation or they could form an umbrella organisation for the two.
"But we haven't had a firm proposal about what they want to do so we will wait and see about how this progresses before we move forward."
January 2012: Alan Hubbard - Being dropped from the Olympic programme has seen softball fall on hard times
July 2012: Exclusive - Softball promise not to rush into Olympic alliance with baseball
July 2011: IOC to consider eight sports for 2020 Olympics
April 2011: Baseball and softball set to hold talks on joint Olympic bid at SportAccord
August 2010: Softball turns down baseball offer to work together for Olympic reinclusion