The World Baseball Softball Confederation has launched a new Youth Commission to further position baseball and softball among the leaders in youth sport.
The WBSC Executive Committee approved the establishment of the youth-centered commission at its recent meeting in Rome that was hosted at the headquarters of the Italian National Olympic Committee, where CONI President Giovanni Malagò and IOC Member Mario Pescante warmly welcomed the participants.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari shared his vision to create the WBSC Youth Commission: “The aim of the newly formed commission is to leverage the popularity of baseball/softball among youth to meet the objectives of WBSC and Members to connect with future generations of athletes while strengthening the presence and access to the sport in both traditional and new territories.”
Part of the first tasks of the Youth Commission will be to research, develop and recommend new innovations and programmes that attract youth participation.
USA Baseball Executive Director Paul Seiler was appointed Chair of the new commission.
“Baseball and softball are played by millions of youth worldwide, and it is a huge honour and great responsibility to be appointed to lead this commission,” said Seiler.
WBSC estimates 65 million male and female athletes in over 140 countries worldwide play baseball and softball disciplines, with the majority of the young athletes between the ages of 5-21.
The gathering at the Sala Guinta in Rome also introduced the new WBSC Development Programmes which aims to optimise and boost the sport of baseball/softball globally, particularly in high-potential territories leading to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
“With the return to the Olympic Games in 2020, this is an important time to grow our sport, and the new Youth Commission and Development Programmes will help baseball/softball to continue growing globally and ensure our sport remains relevant and highly appealing to young people,” President Fraccari said.
WBSC will stage three youth world championships this year: U-12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan; U-19 Junior Women’s Softball Championship in Clearwater, USA; and U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada.