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Updated: February 13, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Glenn Gervot)

CEB and ESF merge to become WBSC Europe

VAL D'EUROPE (France) - On Saturday (February 10), there was a historic moment during the CEB/ESF Congress, which was held in Val d'Europe, the westmost part of the new town of Marne-la-Vallée, located some 35 km east of French capital Paris. Delegates of 38 baseball, softball and combined National Federations unanimously approved the merger of the European Baseball Confederation (CEB) and the European Softball Federation (ESF). That resulted in the creation of the Regional Baseball Softball Confederation for Europe (WBSC Europe), which officially was established today.

In a press release it was stated that the two Federations already had been working together in various matters for several years, which included several joint committees, which were created in 2015. Since last years Congress, representatives of the CEB and ESF, including CEB-President Didier Seminet and ESF-President Gabriel Waage, have been intensively working together on the creation of the new Continental Federation.

,,We finally made the decision. It’s been a long time since we started to work together. We’ve been sharing various matters and projects, and now it’s official. We are together'', said Didier Seminet from France, who in February last year became the new President of CEB, succeeding Dutchman Jan Esselman.

The two sports will now work hand-in-hand in all aspects of the sport. In Europe, the two major areas where the most work and advancement is needed are development and promotion.

...ESF-President Gabriel Waage (Czech Republic), WBSC-Treasurer Angelo Vicini...
...(San Marino) and CEB-President Didier Seminet (France) shake hands... celebrate the merger of CEB and ESF into WBSC Europe...
(© Photo: Glenn Gervot)
The annoucement concluded with a statement from Gabriel Waage (Czech Republic), who succeeded André van Overbeek (Netherlands) as President of the ESF during last years Congress. ,,Everybody needs to realize that we are a part of a big family. In the WBSC family, everyone has their own place. Every regional federation, and every national federation. We are here to spread the knowledge of our sport to every corner of our continent. That’s our goal. That’s why we’re here. That’s why WBSC Europe'', said Waage.

The merger comes almost 65 years after the Fédération Européenne de Baseball (FEB) was founded during a meeting, coincidentally also in France. In the meeting (April 27-29, 1953), delegates from the National Federations of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain founded the European Baseball Federation. The five countries become the first members. Prince Steno de Borghese, the President of the Italian Federation, became the first President of the Executive Committee. In 1956, the Netherlands becomes the sixth member of FEB, which changes its name to Confederation Européenne de Baseball Amateur (CEBA) in 1972. Another name changes follows in 1994 when the word 'amateur' is dropped. Since then, the name was CEB.

The European Softball Federation was founded in 1976 in Rome (Italy) by representatives of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Italian Bruno Beneck becomes the first President of the ESF.

While already announced in October last year, the new competition Super 6 Baseball Softball was officially introduced during the Congress in Val d'Europe. Roderick Balk, who last year was elected member of the Executive Committee of the CEB, introduced the event on Sunday (February 11) to the members of what now was the WBSC Europe. The Super 6-tournament will be held September 18-23 this year at the site of Hoofddorp Pioniers in Hoofddorp (Netherlands). At the same site, the European Baseball Championship was held in 2016. In the Super 6, the six best European teams in baseball and softball will participate.

Participating in the Super 6 Baseball will be reigning European champion Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium, who in this order finished in the top-6 of the 2016 European Championship.

The participating countries in the Super 6 Softball are reigning European champion Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, Russia, Greece and the Czech Republic. They are the top-6 of last years European Championship in Italy.

(February 10-11)

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