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World Baseball Softball Confederation claims boost for Olympic campaign with new facility in UK

posted Jul 24, 2013, 2:20 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 24, 2013, 2:20 PM ]

Baseball - 22 Jul 2013

The World Baseball Softball Confederation has claimed a boost for its campaign for the reinstatement of the two sports in the Olympic programme after an opening ceremony and other activities at the weekend at the first dedicated national baseball and softball venue in the UK.

The WBSC said: “The facility, which features a full size international standard baseball field and three softball/youth baseball fields, has been designed to encourage young people and women and girls into the sports from Britain's vibrant multicultural communities.

“The demand for the new facility also highlights the increasing popularity of the two sports amongst women and young people from a wide variety of backgrounds, in the United Kingdom and across Europe, which has seen rapid growth in softball and baseball over recent years in these important, non-traditional new territories and markets.”

The facility received funding from Sport England, the national sports administration and funding body, and from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund of Major League Baseball, the top US professional league, which is helping to back the campaign for the two sports to return to the programme of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Cathy Bradley, executive director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, said: “The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is thrilled to award BaseballSoftballUK this grant that assisted in the creation of a new facility at Farnham Park Sports Ground.  It is exciting to have a new complex in the United Kingdom and our hope is that a facility such as this will continue to introduce kids to the pastime and grow the games of baseball and softball.”

Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter, the co-presidents of WBSC, said: “This is a momentous achievement that will further attract athletes to our sport in the UK and underpin baseball and softball’s continued rise in Europe and worldwide emergence.

“We fully support the single baseball/softball venue concept, as WBSC is proposing a streamlined shared venue for the 2020 Olympic Games.  The forward-thinking Farnham Park project highlights the significant benefits and realities of baseball and softball's partnership and long-term sustainability.”

Baseball-softball is vying against squash and wrestling for a single available spot on the programme of the 2020 Olympics, with the IOC due to select a sport to fill the slot at its Session in Buenos Aires in September.