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Updated: October 30, 2011
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Copyright © 1997-2011
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

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ISF awards organization World Championship 2014 to Netherlands!
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (USA) - Sunday, October 30, 2011, will go down in Dutch softball-history as the day that the International Softball Federation (ISF) awarded the organization of the 2014 Women's World Championship to the Netherlands!

After a successful presentation on Friday for the ISF Competitions Committee, the 72 attending Federations at the ISF Congress in Oklahoma City (USA) today unanimously voted for the event to take place in the Netherlands. The World Championship 2014 will be held in the city of Haarlem from August 13-23 and it will mark the first time the event takes place in Europe. This will be the fourteenth World Championship in history since the first one was organized in Melbourne (Australia) in 1965.

The Organizing Committee of the 2014 World Championship was represented in Oklahoma City by Peter van der Aart, Johan Kluijskens and Gerrit Ligtenberg. Earlier this year, the Netherlands filed for candidacy for the 2014 Championship, but on Friday, October 28, the trio gave a successful presentation in handing in their official bid to the ISF Competitions Committee. The Netherlands was the only candidate for the organization, but while the Competitions Committee reacted positively, the final say had to come from the member federations of the ISF. On Sunday, the final day of the ISF Congress in Oklahoma City, an unanimous vote officially effected the awarding of the organization to the Netherlands.

The 14th World Championship will be staged at the Nol Houtkamp Sportpark in the city of Haarlem. The complex is the home field of Olympia Haarlem, which plays in the Dutch big league and this year qualified for the Play-Offs for the Dutch championship-title. The complex is named after Nol Houtkamp, who was the Head Coach of the Dutch National Softball Team from 1969 through 1983, a 15-year period that still stands as a record.

Last year, Olympia Haarlem successfully organized the tournaments of the European Cup and European Cup Winners Cup at the same time at the same site, which was a first in European Cup-history. ISF-President Don Porter attended the event and addressed the crowd during the Opening Ceremony. It was during that event that Peter van der Aart and Johan Kluijskens opted the idea to bring the World Championship to Haarlem. And from the on, things went quickly. An Organizing Committee was formed, a logo was designed and promotion for the event started. Van der Aart and Kluijskens traveled to the European Championship in Italy this Summer, being accompanied by Organizing Committee-member Johan Snoeks, to promote the bid and received lots of positive reactions.

When it came to the 2014 World Championship on the agenda on the final day of the Congress in Oklahoma City, there were no additional questions or remarks, as the presentation of two days ago had been clear and good. After the World Championship officially and unanimously was awarded to Haarlem on Sunday, October 30, everyone reacted enthusiastically, resulting in a lot of congratulations for the three organizing members.

The 2014 Championship will open on Wednesday, August 13 and ends with the Grand Final on Saturday, August 23.

It will mark the first time that the World Championship will be organized in Europe. Since 1965, the World Championship was held four times in North America (Canada 2, USA 2), four times in Asia (Japan 2, China 1, Taiwan 1), twice in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) and once in Central America (El Salvador) and South America (Venezuela). Next year, the 13th edition will be held in Canada, which then will set a record for being the host for a third time.

After learning the organization was awarded to the Netherlands, Dutch National Team Head Coach Craig Montvidas reacted: ,,This will increase the attention for softball in our country, which is most deserved for the players and the sport. In much parts of the world, softball is a big sport. We're used to playing abroad and adapting to other cultures, traveling, food, etc. So playing for a home attendance will be a big stimulance for our players. I compliment the people in Haarlem, who took upon them the task of bringing the Championship to the Netherlands. They deserve a lot of spectators in 2014''.

Also discussed during the 25th ISF Congress was the strategy for reinstatement of softball on the Olympic Games, starting in 2020. The Netherlands presented a motion in which the ISF-board was advised to work closer with the International BAseball Federation (IBAF) in order to develop an Olympic bid to present one sport with two unique identities with the purpose of earning back the Olympic status. In this, the ISF and IBAF will remain separate federations, but work together to return to the Olympic Games. The motion resulted in several discussions, but in the end, 89 votes were in favor of the cooperation between the two global federations, while 52 rejected the proposal and there were three no-votes.

(October 30)

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