Softball and Baseball Await IOC Green Light for Joint Olympic Bid

(ATR) The president of the International Softball Federation tells Around the Rings he is hoping the IOC will look kindly on a plan to team up with baseball to get on the 2020 Olympics program.

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(ATR) The president of the International Softball Federation tells Around the Rings he is hoping the IOC will look kindly on a plan to team up with baseball to get on the 2020 Olympics program.

Don Porter and his counterpart at the baseball federation, Riccardo Fraccari, met last week in New York and this week at SportAccord before presenting a plan to the IOC's sports director Christophe Dubi on Thursday.

Porter said the federations updated Dubi on their preliminary discussions about a joint bid.

"He was going to look into it and see if there are any problems from an IOC standpoint," Porter told ATR.

"Basically that's it until we know whether the IOC might have some area where they have a problem with what we would like to do, which is to work together."

Should the IOC clear the way for softball to partner with baseball, Porter said the next step was for both federations to "determine a time to get together, sit down and work out a lot of details".

"We have just hit the surface of things that we could do in putting something together as a joint bid," he added.

On the eve of SportAccord, the ISF and IBAF announced they were looking a the savings and the reduced impact that may come from a combined proposal that women's softball and men's baseball share a venue and share space in the Olympic Village for the 2020 Games.

Fraccari has been pushing softball to team up for an Olympic pitch for two years, with men playing baseball and women softball.

Porter, who for a long time resisted the idea of linking with baseball, admits that a partnership may be the best route to a return to the Olympic program.

"It's a matter of what's best for usas far as the opportunity. We hope that whatever we do will help us and help our athletes. The main thing is we want to get our athletes back into the Olympics. We have to figure out how do we do that."

Baseball and softball were dropped from the Olympic program in a IOC vote at the 2005 Session in Singapore. Two years ago, softball failed in its bid to get back into the Olympics. Rugby and golf were chosen.

The IOC will review the 2020 Games program in 2013, when it will also decide on the core Olympic sports. It's expected that there will be space for only one sport to join the program, which is currently capped at 28 sports.

Written and reported in London by Mark Bisson