The WBSC have announced that the modifications to the Baseball5 rules have been designed for the security of players ©WBSC

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has published the 2021 Baseball5 rulebook with modifications to improve the safety of athletes.

The governing body revealed that the main changes to the rules concerns hitting.

A modification to the hitting rule now states that a batter has to raise "the hand he/she intends to use" while entering the batter's box.

The ball "must be hit/slapped either with a palm or a fist" and have "enough momentum to reach the outfield fence".

In the case of the under-15 category, the outfield is considered to be the "passing the line that connects first-second-third base".

The rules also consider "illegal behaviour".

The batter is considered out if a hit ball, not touched by any defender, does not reach the outfield fence or if a player slides to avoid a tag.

Sliding is now forbidden in Baseball5.

"This latest edition of the Baseball5 Rulebook aims to maintain the dynamism of the discipline while increasing the security of the athletes," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.

"It is yet another sign of the rapid growth of our urban youth-focused discipline.

"We keep listening to the feedback, which we receive from around the world and we look forward to keep supporting the development of baseball, softball and Baseball5 for many years to come."

Sliding will be prohibited under the WBSC Baseball5 rules ©WBSC
Sliding will be prohibited under the WBSC Baseball5 rules ©WBSC

Baseball5 was launched by the WBSC to be a quicker, more urban-friendly version of baseball where batters strike the ball with their hand rather than a bat.

There are five players on each team and each team has five innings.

The 2021 rulebook has been published in both English and Spanish.

The WBSC’s main Baseball5 events have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The governing body had planned to stage the first-ever Baseball5 and Youth Baseball5 World Cups at the end of 2020.

The events have been postponed to June 2021 due to the pandemic.

European Baseball5 champions France and the runners-up Lithuania are the only national teams to have qualified to date.

The rulebook can be accessed here WBSC Baseball5 2021 rulebook.pdf