IBAF fight for Baseball to Return to Olympic 2016

June 27th, 2008

During press conference with Cuban Media, IBAF President Havery Schiller talk about Baseball return to Olympic in 2016.

Havery Schiller trust that baseball will return to the Olympic Games.You can’t deny that Havery Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) is an optimistic person in assuring on more than one occasion that baseball will return to Olympic Games in the summer of 2016, after being excluded in London 2012.

Schiller, from the US, answered questions from sportswriters in Havana for around 45 minutes at a press conference held at the Latinoamericano baseball stadium where he once again thanked the Cuban authorities for their unlimited support for Olympic baseball.

“I have held very important and interesting talks [here] about the organization of the upcoming Beijing Games and the strategy to follow in the coming months towards a common desire, to see baseball back on the Olympic program after 2012. This is my second visit to Cuba [the first was in 1991 during the Pan American Games] and I am leaving pleased with the trip. I hope to return very soon.”

Asked about how the IBAF is going to resolve one of the main problems facing today’s baseball, the excessive length of the games, Schiller responded: “We have discussed the need to speed up the games with the umpires, especially during the competition in Beijing. In addition, a change in the rules is being studied in games beyond nine innings. When the game enters the 10th inning, the first two players in the lineup would be placed on first and second base and each team starts with one out. It’s a proposal that we have made to the eight countries that will participate in Beijing and that’s a step forward.”

Regarding the participants in the Olympics, Schiller said the United States will take players on the 40-player rosters from the Major League teams, but not those on the 25-man roster, something that could be resolved in the future. The other teams, including Cuba and Japan, will compete with their best players.

Ricardo Frascari, IBAF vice president, noted that next year’s World Cup will include qualifying rounds in Holland and Italy. He said the eight top teams in round robin play will then play the sudden death games, often considered unfair, before the semifinals and finals.

Other issues brought up at the press conference were the IBAF web site (which has a new special page for the Olympic Games, ready for live play-by-play transmission of the games and a greater quantity of statistics), the Second World Baseball Classic, a recognition to Latin America with the designation of two of the qualifying round venues, Mexico and San Juan, and a new acknowledgement to Cuba for its efforts to help nations with less development in the sport.

Schiller detailed the work being done in preparation for the International Olympic Committee General Assembly in Copenhagen, Denmark in October 2009, in which seven sports will defend their hopes to be included in the Olympic program.

“We are working hard to be the first to reach all our friends around the world, asking them to take the message of a sport with more than a hundred years of tradition and with more than a hundred countries that play it. We are optimistic of a return in 2016,” said Schiller.

So let’s hope his effort will be enough for Baseball in Olympic 2016.

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