World Baseball Softball Confederation
Wbsc-logo.svg
AbbreviationWBSC
Founded14 April 2013; 9 years ago (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
AffiliationsInternational Olympic Committee, ARISF, GAISF
WebsiteWBSC.org

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.

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 in baseball/softball/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
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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.
B5 batter hitting the ball into field.

In 2018, 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, and which is targeted at underserved communities,[9] as well as offering a low-cost and fast-paced entry point to baseball and softball in new places around the world.[10] The WBSC introduced it to aid its ultimate goal of having a billion-strong baseball-softball community by 2030.[11] 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.[12] It was inspired by various Latin American street games, such as "cuatro esquinas" (four corners) in Cuba,[13] and has been played in some international tournaments in the Americas and Europe,[14][10][15] as well as having been implemented in some schools in various countries.[16][17] It is due to feature in the 2026 Youth Olympic Games,[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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

Continental Confederation Members and Leagues

IBAF Members.png

There are six confederation members in the WBSC divided by geographical regions: Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. In total, there are 198 countries affiliated with the WBSC. By region, there are 28 members in Africa, 58 members in the Americas, 34 members in Asia, 54 members in Europe, and 24 members in Oceania.[22]

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:[23]

Team Region League
 United States Americas AABC
 France Europe AFBS
 Italy Europe AIBXC
 Taiwan Asia CPBL
 Dominican Republic Americas LIDOM
 South Korea Asia KBO
 Mexico Americas LMB
 Mexico Americas LMP
 Japan Asia NPB
 United States Americas PONY
 Puerto Rico Americas LBPRC
 United States Americas USSSA
 Venezuela Americas LVBP

International Tournaments

Men's baseball

Current top four per tournament[24][25]Current pool: 85 countries
Tournament Year Champions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
World Baseball Classic 2017  United States  Puerto Rico  Japan  Netherlands
WBSC Premier12 2019  Japan  South Korea  Mexico  United States
Summer Olympics 2020  Japan  United States  Dominican Republic  South Korea
U-23 Baseball World Cup 2021  Venezuela  Mexico  Colombia  Cuba
U-18 Baseball World Cup 2019  Taiwan  United States  South Korea  Australia
U-15 Baseball World Cup 2018  United States  Panama  Taiwan  Japan
U-12 Baseball World Cup 2019  Taiwan  Japan  Cuba  South Korea

Women's baseball

Current top four per tournament[24] Current pool: 20 countries
Tournament Year Champions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
Women's Baseball World Cup 2018  Japan Taiwan  Canada  United States

Baseball5

Baseball5 tournaments are mixed-gender,[19][26] with each team of five active players required to field at least two active players per gender at all times.[27]

Current top four per tournament
Tournament Year Champions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
Baseball5 World Cup 2022 TBD TBD TBD TBD
Youth Baseball5 World Cup 2023 TBD TBD TBD TBD
Summer Youth Olympics 2026 TBD TBD TBD TBD

Men's softball

Current top four per tournament[28] Current pool: 49 countries
Tournament Year Champions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
Men's Softball World Cup 2019  Argentina  Japan  Canada  New Zealand
U-18 Men's Softball World Championship 2020  Japan  Australia  Czech Republic  Argentina

Women's softball

Current top four per tournament[28] Current pool: 67 countries
Tournament Year Champions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
Women's Softball World Cup 2018  United States  Japan  Canada  Australia
Summer Olympics 2020  Japan  United States  Canada  Mexico
U-18 Women's Softball World Cup 2021  United States  Taiwan  Puerto Rico  Mexico
U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup 2019  Taiwan  Peru  Czech Republic  Indonesia

Rankings

Main article: WBSC World Rankings

Men's baseball

The following table has the Top 20 men's baseball countries in the world.[29] The Top 20 is here due to the next iteration of the World Baseball Classic, the world's major tournament in men's baseball, anticipating to have 20 countries compete. As such, this table shows the projected teams in the next WBC based on the ranking's algorithm.[30]

Top 20 Rankings as of 31 December 2021[31]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Steady  Japan 3752
2 Increase 1  Chinese Taipei 3321
3 Decrease 1  South Korea 3137
4 Increase 1  Mexico 2722
5 Decrease 1  United States 2445
6 Increase 4  Venezuela 2255
7 Decrease 1  Dominican Republic 2235
8 Steady  Netherlands 2058
9 Increase 2  Cuba 1692
10 Decrease 3  Australia 1610
11 Increase 4  Colombia 1346
12 Decrease 3  Canada 1336
13 Steady  Panama 1230
14 Increase 2  Czech Republic 1091
15 Decrease 1  Nicaragua 1035
16 Decrease 4  Puerto Rico 1022
17 Steady  Italy 971
18 Steady  Germany 952
19 Steady  Spain 749
20 Increase 4  Israel 659
*Change from 11 August 2021

Women's softball

The following table has the Top 16 women's softball countries in the world.[32] The Top 16 is here due to the next iteration of the Women's Softball World Championship, the world's major tournament in women's softball, anticipating to have 16 countries compete. As such, this table shows the projected teams in the next WSWC based on the ranking's algorithm.[33]

Top 20 Rankings as of 31 December 2021[34]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Increase 1  United States 3510
2 Decrease 1  Japan 3052
3 Steady  Canada 2631
4 Steady  Mexico 2416
5 Steady  Puerto Rico 2378
6 Steady  Chinese Taipei 2313
7 Increase 1  Italy 1730
8 Increase 1  Australia 1627
9 Decrease 2  China 1597
10 Steady  Netherlands 1585
11 Increase 2  Czech Republic 1255
12 Increase 3  Great Britain 753
13 Decrease 1  Philippines 741
14 Decrease 3  Venezuela 728
15 Increase 1  New Zealand 704
16 Decrease 2  Brazil 673
*Change from 11 August 2021

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 2018. 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. ^ "Fraccari believes Baseball5 can offer refugees new opportunities". www.insidethegames.biz. 19 June 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  10. ^ a b "1st Urban Baseball5 international games staged at Foro Italico in Rome – 1960 Olympic venue". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  11. ^ "WBSC reveals new logo for launch of new Baseball 5-on-5 Street competition in Cuba". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  12. ^ Cooper, J. J. "WBSC Proposes New Street Baseball Game". www.baseballamerica.com. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  13. ^ What is Baseball5? - WBSC, retrieved 6 October 2021
  14. ^ "Cuba wins the inaugural Baseball5 Americas Open, Venezuela second". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Bulgaria wins Balkan Baseball5 Championship". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Australian Gov puts Baseball5 in schools, reaching millions of youth". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  17. ^ "La France signe un partenariat pour introduire le Baseball5 à l'école". wbsc.org (in French). Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  18. ^ "Debut of Baseball5 at Youth Olympic Games postponed as next YOG shifted from 2022 to 2026". wbsc.org. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  19. ^ a b "First-ever Baseball5 World Cup set for 2022 as WBSC announces five-on-five international calendar". wbsc.org. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  20. ^ "BFJ : BASEBALL FEDERATION OF JAPAN". baseballjapan.org. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  21. ^ "스포츠토토"". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  22. ^ "WBSC Members". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  23. ^ "Associate Members of the WBSC". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  24. ^ a b "Directory of WBSC Baseball World Cups". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  25. ^ "About World Baseball Classic". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  26. ^ "High five: baseball5 hits the YOG". Olympics.com. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  27. ^ OFFICIAL WBSC BASEBALL5 RULEBOOK 2021 World Baseball Softball Confederation "In mixed gender competitions the defensive team must have at all times a minimum of two athletes per gender on the field."
  28. ^ a b "Directory of Women's Softball World Cups". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  29. ^ "WBSC Rankings – Men's baseball". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  30. ^ "Qualifying Round brackets set for '21 Classic". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  31. ^ "The WBSC 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. ^ "Standings of the 2018 Women's Softball World Championship". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  34. ^ "The WBSC Women's World Ranking". WBSC. 31 December 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2021.