WBSC President Fraccari calls for unity at continental level
World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari has called on continental bodies governing the sports to unify and create one organisation.
Fraccari said regions including the Americas should follow the example of the likes of Europe and Africa, who have one umbrella body for both baseball and softball under the WBSC banner.
In the Americas, there are separate organisations with responsibility for baseball and softball, which Fraccari feels should change.
"After the world governing body merger, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) understands that the union of our sports must also be at all institutional levels," Fraccari said during a video conference.
"The next step is to unite our sports at the continental level.
"Europe has already done it with WBSC Europe; Africa and Oceania have also done it.
"America must understand that this is the way.
"I know it will take much more time in countries with two different associations (baseball and softball), I am very careful with this topic because it takes time to change the mindset.
"But we must understand that we have embarked on this process."
Fraccari also hailed the development of baseball and softball since the merger of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation into the WBSC in 2013.
"We have over 65 million athletes and approximately 150 million fans in stadiums around the world," Fraccari, the last President of the IBAF before the organisations joined forces, said.
"These numbers indicate the value of the baseball-softball merger in 2013.
"I believe that no other federation, no other sport, has been able to obtain such a success in such a short time.
"Before the merger, I started asking 'why there were two worlds, with different objectives, competing against each other?'
"I started talking to softball people, explaining that, in my opinion, dividing the great world of ball would make us weaker.
"The IOC itself was pushing for a merger.
"A unique sport can be presented with different modalities, so baseball and softball could return to the Olympic Games."