January 23, 2019
ROME, Italy 22/01/2019– The baseball and softball federations in the host nations of the next three Summer Olympic Games – Japan (2020), France (2024) and USA (2028) – have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost baseball and softball in France, a novel cooperation in the Olympic spirit strengthening the case to feature baseball and softball at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The agreement — which has been designed to promote international collaboration on youth development, coaching and high performance — was signed between the Baseball Federation of Japan (BFJ), the Japan Softball Association (JSA), the French Baseball and Softball Federation (FFBS), USA Baseball and USA Softball at the recent World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Executive Board meeting in Rome.
“This incredible act of international cooperation and sportsmanship can only be inspired by the greatest sports platform on the planet, the Olympic Games,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “The global baseball-softball community embraces the values of the Olympics and wishes to promote the spread of them at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, helping to build immense momentum and continuity for the Olympic Movement from Tokyo 2020 to LA 2028 Games, if our sport remains on the Olympic Programme.
“This is a unique opportunity in which Paris 2024 and the International Olympic Committee can leverage baseball/softball’s national sport status in the Games preceding and succeeding Paris 2024 — passing the torch and building the Olympic spotlight from Tokyo 2020 to LA 2028.”
FFBS President Didier Seminet said: “We’re delighted to have signed an agreement with the world’s two leading baseball and softball nations. Our membership is up 50% over the last 10 years and we believe that this partnership will boost these figures even more dramatically over the next three Olympic cycles, as we try to realise the dream of our French baseball and softball athletes to play for their home country in the Olympic Games of Paris 2024.”
The MoU will see Japan and USA play warm-up and exhibition games with teams from France in the build-up to major international competitions at every age group. French players and coaches will also have the opportunity to train with the top two teams in the Olympic disciplines of men’s baseball and women’s softball.
Under the agreement Japan and USA will send coaching envoys to France to help develop technical skills, physical conditioning and nutrition, and coaching techniques. The MoU provides for ongoing dialogue and knowledge sharing between the federations for the benefit of the global baseball-softball community.