Last week’s inaugural Baseball5 World Cup was declared “a huge success” by President Fraccari.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation Executive Board met for the first time since elections at the WBSC World Congress in Taiwan in July to review a busy 2022 international events season and look ahead to the 2023 season.
The virtual meeting covered the eight events taken place so far this year with three events – Virtual Cup Finals, Men’s Softball World Cup in New Zealand and U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup – still to be held.
“After the successful delivery of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, this year was very busy and full of tournaments,” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said. “Thank you to all the teams who have participated this year and the organisers for staging excellent tournaments in what have been challenging circumstances. We have had some excellent events and we’re looking forward to an even busier season next year with 13 international tournaments.”
One of the particular highlights this year was the first ever Baseball5 World Cup, which was held in Mexico City last week. “I could not imagine a better place to celebrate this special moment,” President Fraccari told the Board members. “It was a huge success and El Zocalo was amazing, I wish you could have all felt the special vibe that this World Cup gave us.
“This Baseball5 World Cup was so successful we now have to think how we proceed with the Baseball5 Youth World Cup and for that I want to make sure it’s a festival, educational aspect in addition to the sports element.”
The inaugural Baseball5 Youth World Cup is one of 13 events scheduled for 2023 including seven Softball World Cups and group stages, four Baseball World Cups and a Slowpitch World Cup.
“Next year is set to be another historic year for the WBSC with our first ever group stage tournaments for our Women’s Softball and Men’s Baseball World Cups as well as new events in the digital space,” President Fraccari said. “We are focused on developing new opportunities for the youth market including the further enhancement of our eSports Strategy which is composed of three pillars: Mobile Games, Console Games and Virtual Reality.”
Other important discussion topics addressed by the Executive Board included the review of the structure of WBSC tournaments and the requirements that apply to each of them. “The world will never be the same as before,” President Fraccari said. “The pandemic has affected us so much that we cannot think with the same standards that we had before. Our event structure should be more sustainable and inclusive. We need to find a balance between our activities and the needs of our National Federations and events’ organisers.”
A special focus was also given to Integrity, Governance and Development. During the past year, the Integrity Unit has been working hard on rule making and after the release of the Integrity Code, the WBSC Ethics By-Laws, which included amendments to embrace recent changes in line with modern standards, were approved by the Executive Board.
A new Development Agreement with the Continental Associations for the allocation of the development funds was also presented to the Board. This model will change the method of allocation moving into a more meritocratic system where the Continental Associations will receive a score based on the level of activities and quality of governance.
“I believe that this system will empower our Continental Associations giving them the opportunity to become more responsible and relevant in their regions, where they should have the proper knowledge and workforce to manage the resources in the best way,” said President Fraccari.
Meanwhile, the Board members were also updated on the second round of the Governance Assessment for the WBSC Continental Associations, which has been launched with a new questionnaire being distributed across the five continents. On 22 November, the first call with the Confederations will be held to present the framework with the project ending in March 2023.
President Fraccari told the Board that the first round of the Governance Assessment prepared the Continental Associations, giving them some knowledge about the topic and was important for the WBSC to have a better understanding of their governance level, while the second round will take on greater importance since the WBSC will disclose the results clustering the Continental Associations into five groups – A1, A2, B, C, D. Each group will give different points to the Continental Associations, which will have a big impact on the allocation of the development funds. This exercise will be repeated each year with the aim to have stronger and more accountable Continental Associations in line with the WBSC Strategic Goals.