By Gary Anderson

March 18 - The WBSC has announced that its inaugural Congress will take place in Tunisia ©Getty Images The inaugural World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Congress will take place in Hammamet, Tunisia, on May 10 and 11, it has been announced.

The Congress will represent the first time the WBSC will meet for a global gathering since the amalgamation of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) was formalised in April 2013.

In September 2013, the WBSC was officially recognised as the governing body for baseball and softball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IBAF and ISF had agreed to a merger in 2012 with the principal aim of securing a return to the Olympic programme for the Tokyo 2020 Games, but the IOC controversially decided to keep wrestling as part of the programme at its 126th Session in Buenos Aires last year.

Baseball and softball had been voted off the Olympic programme after both sports appeared at Beijing 2008, but despite unsuccessful attempts to get reinstated since, the WBSC has vowed to continue its campaign to get them back at the Olympics.

Since the WBSC was established, former ISF President Don Porter and IBAF President Riccardo Fraccari have led the new organisation's interim Executive Board as co-Presidents.

Fresh elections will be held in May to select all positions on the new Executive Board.

WBSC co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari (left) and Don Porter have led the organisation since its formation in April 2013 ©Getty Images WBSC co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari (left) and Don Porter have led the organisation since its formation in April 2013 ©Getty Images

This will represent the first time a global gathering of either the IBAF or ISF will have taken place on the African continent.

WBSC officials have confirmed that as well as leadership elections, the focus of the Congress will also be on emerging territories with high potential for development where baseball and softball can be practised among young people, promote gender equality, encourage greater universality and where national federations can build and reinforce their national teams for international competition.

"This is another key milestone across many levels for the global evolution of baseball and softball and we are not only honoured but we are particularly proud to have Tunisia as the host of the WBSC's very first Congress," said Porter and Fraccari.

"We are committed to growing the appeal and relevance of baseball and softball in emerging territories across Africa and around the world, and Tunisia's excellent bid is a key indicator that underscores baseball and softball's continued worldwide emergence and highlights the attractiveness, benefits and realities of baseball and softball's partnership."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related Stories
October 2013: 
Porter steps down as President of International Softball Federation and replaced by Canadian McMann
December 2012: Baseball formally approves international merger with softball
October 2012: Exclusive - Joint baseball and softball bid for 2020 Olympics gets green light
ctober 2012: Softball delegates back merger with baseball to boost Olympic bid
August 2012: Baseball and softball set to merge in hope to win bid for inclusion in 2020 Olympics