It means there is a chance that Baseball might be back to 2016.
IOC OKs way to change Olympic sports
By Stephen Wilson, AP Sports Writer
GUATEMALA CITY — The IOC agreed Friday to keep a “core” group of more than two dozen sports in future Olympics and allow room for a few new ones to be included at each games.
Under the new process, the International Olympic Committee will approve a bloc of 25-26 entrenched sports and can add two or three more to stay within a maximum of 28.
Softball and baseball, which have been dropped for the 2012 London Olympics, are lobbying to return for the 2016 games.
A simple majority will be needed for adding or removing sports. Previously, it took a two-thirds majority to bring in a new sport. The IOC assembly will vote on a list proposed by its 15-member executive board.
The changes were approved unanimously by a show of hands on the third day of the IOC assembly in Guatemala.
IOC president Jacques Rogge said the new system was “much clearer and easier to understand” and would lead to a “consistent, coherent and well-balanced program” combining a mix of individual sports, team sports and sports popular in certain regions.
The move followed widespread criticism of the arduous procedures at the IOC session in Singapore in 2005, where members voted individually on each of the 28 sports. Baseball and softball were cut for 2012 and members failed to approve any replacements, leaving only 26 sports for London.
The new process will debut at the 2009 session in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the same 26 sports on the London program put forward for the 2016 games. The executive board also will propose inclusion of one or two other sports.
In 2013, the IOC will vote on a bloc of 25 sports for the 2020 games, meaning one sport will be dropped from the permanent list after 2016 and three new sports could be added.
Meanwhile, the IOC approved the current seven sports on the Winter Olympics program — skiing, biathlon, bobsled, luge, curling, ice hockey and skating — for the 2014 games, which were awarded Wednesday to Sochi, Russia. Individual disciplines — including women’s ski jumping — still could be added.
Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation, said he expects to compete against five to 10 other sports for inclusion at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“It makes it a little more difficult,” he said. “That’s the system they got and we have to work with it. It’s not the best. The window is a lot more narrow. We’ll work hard and hope we get a shot at it.”
The International Baseball Federation has scheduled a special congress Aug. 18 in Frankfurt, Germany, to devise a strategy for getting readmitted to the Olympics.
Rogge said core spots could only be removed for “exceptional reasons,” including mismanagement, corruption, refusal to comply with anti-doping rules or dramatic loss of popularity.
“Is this an eternal status?” he said. “No, of course not, but to remove a sport from these 25 would need very special reasons.”
Those sports outside the core group, however, would have a “different status,” Rogge said. They would be considered provisional and would be easier to drop, he said.
Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, warned Friday that “more than a handful” of Olympic sports so far have failed to comply with anti-doping rules, endangering their place in future games. But he said they have time to remedy the problems.
The sports program must be fixed seven years in advance of each games.
Rogge said the IOC would maintain its cap of 10,500 athletes for summer games but allow “flexibility” in the number of events, disciplines and teams.
In Singapore, each of the 28 existing sports was put to a “yes” or “no” vote, with softball missing out by one vote and baseball by three.
After baseball and softball were voted out, the IOC then rejected all five sports hoping to get into the games — squash, karate, rugby, golf and roller sports. All failed to get a two-thirds majority.