WBSC Congress Opens in Botswana -- Federations Focus

Also: First round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup ticket period ends Oct. 12; World Archery Championships begin Oct. 15.

(ATR) The II WBSC World Baseball Softball Congress opens in Gaborone, Botswana on Thursday.

Delegates and high-ranking decision-makers from more than 130 WBSC National Federations and Associate Members will attend the three-day Congress.

Among key agenda items will be reviews of the Olympic baseball and softball qualifying system and format. The WBSC told Around the Rings on Tuesday that the schedule for Tokyo 2020 is still an "open issue" despite the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers reportedly reaching a final decision during the most recent Tokyo 2020 Project Review last week.

WBSC Baseball and WBSC Softball elections will be held, with a total of 37 nominated candidates running for 14 available posts.

The future hosts of the Baseball World Cups and Softball World Championships will be awarded, including the rights to host next year's U-15 Baseball World Cup, U-23 Baseball World Cup and Women's Baseball World Cup.

"The World Baseball Softball Congress in Gaborone will be an important gathering of baseball's and softball's leaders to discuss and shape the future direction and international expansion of our global sport," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari in a statement.

"WBSC is grateful to the Botswana Softball Association and the Botswana National Sports Commission for welcoming the World Baseball Softball family to the great city of Gaborone."

Two Million Ticket Requests for Russia

Fans have until Thursday Oct. 12 to make requests in the first round of the FIFA World Cup ticket period.

The first ticket period started Sept. 14, and according to a FIFA release two million requests have been made. Outside of local Russian fans, the top requests have come from Germany, Brazil, Mexico, United States, Argentina, China, Colombia, Israel and Egypt.

Of those countries only the U.S. and China did not qualify for Russia 2018. So far 23 of 32 countries have qualified for the final tournament. Qualification will wrap up next month.

Those who applied will be notified by FIFA on Nov. 16 if their requests were successful. Tickets purchased during the first stage will be delivered free of charge by May 2018.

World Archery Heads to Mexico

World Archery will continue its efforts to grow the sport in the Americas by hosting the 2017 World Archery Championships in Mexico City this week.

The championships begin on Oct. 15 in the Mexican capital despite devastating earthquakes that struck the city in September.

"On behalf of the global archery family, World Archery extends its deepest thoughts, sympathies and condolences to the people of Mexico following natural disasters that have resulted in the tragic loss of life and damage to buildings and infrastructure," said World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen.

"We have been assured that, while the authorities’ immediate priority will be dealing with the aftermath of the earthquakes, the 2017 World Archery Congress and Championships should continue as planned."

The World Championships follow the 2015 Archery World Cup final also held in the capital, the country’s second time hosting the event.

"Athletes were at the centre of the decision to award these events to Mexico City," Dielen said. "Mexico’s archers have been asking for an international tournament in their country for some time, and they are one of the most internationally competitive teams right now."

The week-long tournament will conclude on Oct. 22.

Written by Gerard Farek, Aaron Bauer and Kevin Nutley

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