The Swiss Baseball E-Sports League is set to start on January 11 ©SBSF

The Swiss Baseball and Softball Federation (SBSF) is set to launch what is believed to be Europe's first esports baseball league next month.

It comes after the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) approved the inclusion of esports as a discipline of baseball and softball earlier this month.

The new online baseball competition, named the Swiss Baseball E-Sports League (SBEL), is the result of cooperation between SBSF and Senior eSports, a platform for gamers over the age of 35.

Scheduled to start on January 12, the SBEL will feature two tournaments with the Junior League - featuring players under the age of 34 - comprising of 12 teams.

The Senior League will see eight teams compete.

The WBSC has recently approved esports as a discipline of baseball and softball ©WBSC
The WBSC has recently approved esports as a discipline of baseball and softball ©WBSC

A total of 40 players representing 14 SBSF-affiliated clubs will be involved, including former Swiss pole vaulter Marquis Richard, who will play for the Therwil Flyers.

Regular season competitions are scheduled to be held throughout January, with the quarter-finals due to take place on February 1 and 7, followed by the semi-finals on February 10.

The bronze medal match is expected to played on February 17 while the final is planned for February 24.

Esports will be integrated into the WBSC statutes, which will be put forward for approval by the WBSC Congress in 2022.

"The welcoming of esports into the WBSC family comes at a critical time, considering the fast-evolving digital world in which we live and the ongoing global pandemic," WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said.

"The WBSC looks forward to more progressive innovation in the dynamic and youth-focused space of esports, which will potentially expand the reach of our sport to millions of gamers and fans."