World Baseball Softball Confederation

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC; French: Confédération internationale de baseball et softball) is the world governing body for the sports of baseball, softball, and Baseball5. It was established in 2013 by the merger of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF), the former world governing bodies for baseball and softball, respectively. Under WBSC's organizational structure, IBAF and ISF now serve as the Baseball Division and Softball Division of WBSC. Each division is governed by an executive committee, while the WBSC is governed by an executive board.

World Baseball Softball Confederation
AbbreviationWBSC
Founded14 April 2013 (2013-04-14)
TypeSports federation
Legal statusGoverning body of Baseball
and Softball
PurposeWorld Governing Body
HeadquartersPully, Switzerland
Location
  • Av. du Général Guisan 45
Region served
Worldwide
Membership
141 National Federations; 7 Pro Baseball "Associate Members"
Official language
English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
President
Riccardo Fraccari
Main organ
Congress
Subsidiaries
AffiliationsInternational Olympic Committee, ARISF, GAISF
WebsiteWBSC.org

Headquartered in Pully, Switzerland, the WBSC was granted recognition as the sole competent global authority for both the sports of baseball and softball by the International Olympic Committee at the 125th IOC Session on 8 September 2013.

The WBSC has 208 National Federation Members in 141 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania. Professional baseball organizations as well as youth organizations are also included and form an arm of the WBSC as associate members.

As the recognised governing body of baseball, softball, and Baseball5, the WBSC is charged with overseeing all international competitions and holds the exclusive rights of all competitions, tournaments and world championships featuring National Teams. These rights extend to the Olympic Games.[1] WBSC's members hold the rights to organize and select National Teams. This exclusive authority of the WBSC and its members in each constituent country to sanction and regulate the sport of baseball applies in the 141 territories in which the WBSC has an associated National Federation.

Discussions to merge the two separate world governing bodies for the sports of baseball and softball were sparked by a Memorandum of Understanding that saw baseball and softball leaders agree to form a joint bid to be added to the 2020 Olympic Games sports program.[2][3] Baseball and softball were dropped from the 2012 Summer Olympic program and were scheduled to be reinstated for the 2020 Olympics, but the 2020 Olympics were delayed due to the COVID-19 international pandemic. In August 2021, the International Olympic Committee announced that softball would not be part of the 2024 Paris Olympics.[4] Baseball5 is still set to feature in the 2026 Youth Olympics.

History

Flag of the WBSC

Following its exclusion of baseball and softball from the Summer Olympics in 2005,[5] the IOC reclassified baseball and softball as two disciplines of the same sport.[6] As the IOC's guidance indicated the necessity for baseball and softball to be jointly considered for reinstatement in the Olympic programme, the two independent International Federations set out on a path toward a full and complete merger.

In 2012, the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) laid out the essential ground rules for partnership and began working on a constitution that would guide the merger and provide a framework for governance, ethics and operations. At a historic IBAF Congress in Tokyo in April 2013, the Constitution was ratified and since it had already been approved by an ISF working group empowered to do so, the WBSC was officially formalized and empowered.

The creation of a single federation allowed for the permanent alignment, merger and management of baseball and softball at the world level.[7] The merger resulted in an immediate boost to the governance, universality and gender equality of baseball and softball, criteria for an Olympic sport that are heavily valued by the IOC.

At the first-ever World Baseball Softball Congress—in Hammamet, Tunisia—Italy's Fraccari was elected to a seven-year term as the first president of WBSC, along with a fully elected Executive Board.[8]

Creation of Baseball5

B5 batter hitting the ball into field.

In 2017,[9] the WBSC introduced a third discipline to be played at an international level, Baseball5 (B5), which is a five-on-five, five-inning game designed to be played with only a rubber ball on a small field. It is targeted at underserved communities,[10] as well as offering a low-cost and fast-paced entry point to baseball and softball in new places around the world.[11] The WBSC introduced it to aid its ultimate goal of having a billion-strong baseball-softball community by 2030.[12] A major difference between B5 and baseball/softball is that the game is played without a pitcher, with the batter starting each play with the ball.[13] It was inspired by various Latin American street games, such as "cuatro esquinas" (four corners) in Cuba,[14] and has been played in some international tournaments in the Americas and Europe,[15][11][16] as well as having been implemented in some schools in various countries.[17][18] It is due to feature in the 2026 Youth Olympic Games,[19] and has two World Cups for youth and senior players alternating each year starting in 2022, with both of these international events being played in a mixed-gender format.[20] The WBSC is also planning to, as part of its general push into E-Sports, introduce a video game version of Baseball5 in the near future.[21]

Organizational structure

The WBSC is governed by the executive board, which consists of fourteen members: president, secretary general, two vice presidents, baseball executive vice president, softball executive vice president, treasurer, four members at large, athlete representative for baseball, athlete representative for softball, and global ambassador.[22]

The Baseball Division is governed by an executive committee, which has thirteen members: president, secretary general, 2nd vice president, 3rd vice president, treasurer, three members at large, four continental vice presidents (one each for Africa, Americas, Europe, and Oceania), and executive director.

The Softball Division is governed by an executive committee that has twenty-three members: president, secretary general, 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, treasurer, twelve vice presidents (two each for Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania, and one each for North America and English-speaking Caribbean), two at-large members, two athlete representatives, immediate past president, and executive director.

The WBSC has four departments: media, finance, tournaments, and marketing. It also has several commissions.

Members

Besides its worldwide institutions, there are five regional governing bodies that oversee the game in the different continents and regions of the world.

In total, WBSC recognizes 198 national associations, with 132 national baseball teams as well as 122 women's national teams.[23]

Unlike the ICC, the WBSC identifies associate members as those who particularly endorse international baseball and softball with their own leagues in partnership with the WBSC. These leagues support baseball and softball to the extent that they are major sports in their respective countries. The table below has all leagues along with the country hosted:[24]

TeamRegionLeague
 United StatesAmericasAABC
 FranceEuropeAFBS
 ItalyEuropeAIBXC
 United StatesAmericasBRL
 TaiwanAsiaCPBL
 Dominican RepublicAmericasLIDOM
 South KoreaAsiaKBO
 MexicoAmericasLMB
 MexicoAmericasLMP
 JapanAsiaNPB
 United StatesAmericasPONY
 Puerto RicoAmericasLBPRC
 United StatesAmericasUSSSA
 VenezuelaAmericasLVBP

WBSC competitions

Current title holders

Competition Year Host country Champions Title Runners-up Next edition Dates
Baseball
World Baseball Classic 2017 United States  United States 1st  Puerto Rico 2023 Qualification:
September–October 2022
Finals:
TBD
WBSC Premier12 2019 Japan  Japan 1st  South Korea 2023
Olympic baseball tournament 2020 Japan  Japan 1st  United States 2028 July–August 2028
U-23 Baseball World Cup 2022 Taiwan  Japan 2nd  South Korea 2024
U-18 Baseball World Cup 2022 United States  United States 10th  Chinese Taipei 2024 9–18 September 2022
U-15 Baseball World Cup 2022 Mexico  United States 7th  Cuba 2024 26 August – 4 September 2022
U-12 Baseball World Cup 2022 Taiwan  United States 4th  Venezuela 2023 28 July – 6 August 2023
Women's Baseball World Cup 2018 United States  Japan 6th  Chinese Taipei 2024 8 August 2023
Softball
Men's Softball World Cup 2022 New Zealand  Australia 2nd  Canada 2025 2024 (group stage)
2025 (finals)
U-23 Men's Softball World Cup
First edition will be held in 2023
2023 25–23 April 2023
U-18 Men's Softball World Cup 2020 New Zealand  Japan 3rd  Australia 2023
Women's Softball World Cup 2022 United States  United States 12th  Japan 2024 11-26 July 2023 (group stage)
2024 (finals)
U-18 Women's Softball World Cup 2021 United States  United States 8th  Chinese Taipei 2025 2024 (group stage)
2025 (finals)
U-15 Women's Softball World Cup
First edition to be held in 2023
2023
U-12 Softball World Cup 2021 Taiwan  Chinese Taipei 2nd  Czech Republic 2025
Baseball5
Baseball5 World Cup 2022 Mexico  Cuba 1st  Japan 2024
Youth Baseball5 World Cup
First edition will be held in 2023
2023
Youth Olympic Games
First edition will be held in 2026
2026

WBSC World Rankings

Baseball5 (Coed)

Top 20 Rankings as of 12 January 2023[34]
Rank Change Team Points
1  Cuba2055
2  Chinese Taipei1679
3  France1650
4  Japan1635
5  Venezuela1370
6  South Africa1286
7  Lithuania1213
8  Tunisia1174
9  Kenya1046
10  Italy819
11  Mexico807
12  South Korea781
13  Netherlands714
14  Romania710
15  Czech Republic600
16  Belgium532
17  Russia528
18  Hong Kong518
19  Bulgaria466
20  Turkey465
*New Rankings

See also

References

  1. "WBSC Organisational Profile". wbsc.org. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  2. "Baseball, softball agree on name". ESPN Olympics. ESPN. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  3. Linden, Julian (8 September 2013). "Baseball-softball vow to fight on after Olympic rejection". Reuters. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  4. "Breakdancing (yes, breakdancing) in, baseball, softball, karate out for 2024 Paris Olympics". USA Today. 6 August 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  5. Michaelis, Vicki (8 July 2015). "Baseball, softball bumped from Olympics". USA Today. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  6. Kolatch, Jonathan (3 September 2013). "Baseball and softball belong in the Olympics". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  7. "WORLD BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL CONFEDERATION SETS OUT OLYMPIC VISION". British Baseball Federation. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  8. "Fraccari elected baseball-softball president". AP. Associated Press. May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  9. "Riccardo Fraccari: WBSC's culture of innovation brings series of firsts to 2022". www.insidethegames.biz. 17 December 2022. Retrieved 17 December 2022.
  10. "Fraccari believes Baseball5 can offer refugees new opportunities". www.insidethegames.biz. 19 June 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  11. "1st Urban Baseball5 international games staged at Foro Italico in Rome – 1960 Olympic venue". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  12. "WBSC reveals new logo for launch of new Baseball 5-on-5 Street competition in Cuba". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  13. Cooper, J. J. "WBSC Proposes New Street Baseball Game". www.baseballamerica.com. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  14. What is Baseball5? - WBSC, retrieved 6 October 2021
  15. "Cuba wins the inaugural Baseball5 Americas Open, Venezuela second". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  16. "Bulgaria wins Balkan Baseball5 Championship". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  17. "Australian Gov puts Baseball5 in schools, reaching millions of youth". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  18. "La France signe un partenariat pour introduire le Baseball5 à l'école". wbsc.org (in French). Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  19. "Debut of Baseball5 at Youth Olympic Games postponed as next YOG shifted from 2022 to 2026". wbsc.org. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  20. "First-ever Baseball5 World Cup set for 2022 as WBSC announces five-on-five international calendar". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  21. "BFJ : BASEBALL FEDERATION OF JAPAN". baseballjapan.org. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  22. "스포츠토토"". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  23. "WBSC Members". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  24. "Associate Members of the WBSC". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  25. "Directory of WBSC Baseball World Cups". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  26. "About World Baseball Classic". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  27. "Directory of Women's Softball World Cups". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  28. "WBSC Rankings – Men's baseball". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  29. "The WBSC World Ranking". WBSC. 31 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  30. "The WBSC Men's Softball World Ranking". WBSC. 31 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  31. "The WBSC Women's Baseball World Ranking". WBSC. 31 December 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  32. "WBSC Rankings – Women's softball". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  33. "The WBSC Women's World Ranking". WBSC. 31 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  34. "The WBSC Baseball5 World Ranking". WBSC. 12 January 2023. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
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