WBSC May Adopt MLB Coronavirus Measures

(ATR) Riccardo Fraccari dismisses Greenpeace's report on radiation issues in Fukushima.

(ATR) The World Baseball and Softball Confederation "does not rule out" adopting the recent coronavirus recommendations of Major League Baseball for its Arizona Olympic qualifying tournament.

"We do not rule them out, we are studying them with the WBSC Medical Commission," Riccardo Fraccari, president of the WBSC, tellsAround the Rings.

Fraccari moved from Lausanne to Italy to join his family to face the ups and downs of the crisis created by COVID-19 in Italian society.

As a preventive measure due to the epidemic, WBSC had to postpone the opening ceremony of its new headquarters in Lausanne last week.

Major League Baseball joined three other professional sports leagues, with the announcement of a temporary protocol for the media in response to the growing number of coronavirus cases worldwide.

According to the new guidelines, "only players and essential personnel can enter the locker rooms and clubhouses at MLB facilities".

The new protocol began on Tuesday at all major league Spring Training facilities in Florida and Arizona.

The opening day of the regular season is Thursday, March 26.

MLB has also suggested avoiding traditional handshakes and the use of public pens for autograph signing among the various precautions.

With a view to its Olympic qualifying tournaments and other international competitions, the WBSC had transmitted to its national member federations a list of 12 tips to counteract the spread of the virus.

The rules must be "respected" not only by athletes, but also by companions, referees, coaches, managers, masseurs, spectators and professionals," journalists included.

In Arizona, six positive cases of coronavirus have now been detected.

Fraccari insisted that the WBSC office has "daily contact" with U.S. organizers.

"For us, the first thing is the athlete's health," said Fraccari.

"At the moment, there don't seem to be any problems," Fraccari replied, on whether he has concerns with the Olympic qualifying tournament of the Americas.

"We are monitoring ... But nobody has a crystal ball to know what will happen tomorrow." "Hopefully everything goes on normally."

The qualifying tournament will be held from March 22 to 26 with eight national teams in search of the fifth Olympic ticket: United States, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua in Group A and Canada, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia in Group B.

The last Olympic qualifier based in Chinese Taipei had to be changed from the beginning of April to June 17-21 due to the health and safety measures of players, staff and spectators against the spread of the coronavirus.

Tokyo 2020 will mark the return of baseball and softball to the Olympic program for the first time since Beijing 2008. Games will be played in Yokohama and Fukushima.

Greenpeace Germany has insisted in its recent reports that there are high levels of radiation around the Olympic venues of Fukushima, site of a nuclear disaster in 2011 caused by a terrible earthquake and tsunami.

This claim is contrary to that of the Japanese government, which says it has carried out effective decontamination work, and to the IOC, which has indicated that the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Fukushima Prefecture in recent weeks and was impressed by Japan's efforts.

"At the moment we do not have this radiation level information," says Fraccari. "I don't think so."

"The IOC, before us, has confirmation that there is no problem in Fukushima," added Fraccari.

Written by Miguel Hernandez

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