(Story & Research by Marco Stoovelaar)
European Cup Softball Tournaments awarded to Haarlem, Montegranaro and Caserta
BELGRADE (Serbia) -
At the joint ESF-CEB Congress in Serbian capital Belgrade on Saturday (February 4), the European Softball Federation (ESF) named the organisors of this years European Cup Softball Tournaments.
The organization of the European Premiere Cup was awarded to Haarlem (Netherlands), while Caserta (Italy) will be the site for the European Cup Winners Cup.
The European Cup-tournament will also be played in Italy, as Montegranaro will organize an event for the fourth time in five years.
The history of the European Softball Cup begins in 1978 when the first tournament is being organized in Haarlem.
This year, the 40th edition of the prime European club-competition, now called European Premiere Cup, will be held at the same location, the Noordersportpark, on August 21-26.
Dutch champion Oolders Omaco Sparks Haarlem will organize the event for the fourth time.
Games also will be played at the site of Haarlem-based Onze Gezellen, whose complex was renovated last year.
It will be the second time that the site of Onze Gezellen will be used for European Cup-games.
In 2001, Terrasvogels hosted the European Cup-tournament and then also work together with Onze Gezellen, on whose site some of the game also were played.
Sparks Haarlem now has hosted the tournament every 10 year since 1997.
The club last organized the tournament ten years ago in 2007 when games also were played on the site of Terrasvogels in closeby Santpoort.
Ten years earlier, in 1997, games also were played on the field of EDO, the neighbour of Sparks Haarlem on the Noordersportpark.
In 1979, HHC, the predecessor of Sparks Haarlem, organized the second edition of the event jointly with Terrasvogels, which had won the first Cup.
The games were played at the site of HHC.
In 1978, the site of HHC also was the location of the first tournament, but it was then organized by DSS, which was the champion of 1977.
The 26th European Cup Winners Cup Tournament will be held on the same dates in Caserta (Italy) and will be hosted by DES Caserta.
The 24th European Cup Tournament, which is the former B-pool of the original European Cup, will be held in Montegranaro (Italy), also on August 21-26.
Earlier, the ESF already had awarded the organization of the sixth edition of the Men's Softball European Super Cup to Amersfoort (Netherlands).
That event will be played at the site of Dutch champion Quick Amersfoort, begins on August 28 and closes on September 2.
Last year, Dutch softball-clubs were successful in the European club-competitions.
At Ronchi dei Legionari (Italy), Oolders Omaco Sparks Haarlem won the European Premiere Cup and in Ostrava (Czech Republic), FysioExpert Olympia Haarlem captured the European Cup Winners Cup.
The Netherlands also was successful in baseball, as L&D Amsterdam Pirates captured the European Champions Cup.
Because of these victories, the Netherlands will be represented this year by four clubs, based on the results of the Play-Offs and Holland Series following last season's Golden League-competition.
As Sparks Haarlem won the Dutch Championship-title, it qualified for the Premiere Cup.
The team will be joined by Terrasvogels, which had reached last years Holland Series.
Terrasvogels will participate for the 36th time in an European Cup-tournament and is the European recordholder with this total.
By reaching the Play-Offs, DSS and Olympia Haarlem qualified to participate in the Cup Winners Cup.
And so, they will travel to Italy in August.
As mentioned, the history of the European Cup begins in 1978 with the first tournament in Haarlem (Netherlands).
In 1993, a B-pool is added to give more club-teams the opportunity to play in European tournaments.
From that year on, there are two separate tournaments, sometimes on the same location.
This set-up ends after the tournaments that were played in 2013.
In 1992, a second European Cup-tournament is introduced, the European Cup Winners Cup with the first tournament being hosted in Pribram in what then was Czechoslovakia.
A B-pool was also added in this category in 1998 and this set-up also remains on the agenda through 2013.
The tournaments are renamed in 2014.
The European Cup became the Premiere Cup, while the former B-pool became the European Cup and serves as a Qualifier for the Premiere Cup.
The Cup Winners Cup continued under the same name, but has no B-pool anymore.
It will mark the 23rd time since 1978 that an European Cup/Premiere Cup/Cup Winners Cup-tournament is hosted in the Netherlands.
Including this years tournament, sixteen of these events were/are for the European Cup/Premiere Cup (A- and/or B-pool), the others were for the Cup Winners Cup.
It will be the tenth time that one of these tournaments takes place in the city of Haarlem.
As mentioned, Sparks Haarlem will be the host of a tournament for the fourth time on its site at the Noordersportpark.
That complex will be an Euorpean Cup-location for the fifth time and also was the site of the very-first event when it was used by then-host DSS.
Italy will host an European Cup-event for the 34th and 35th time this year, including 22 in the European Cup/Premiere Cup-category.
It will mark the 13th time that a Cup Winners Cup-tournament will be played in Italy with Caserta being the playing site.
It is the second time that Caserta will host a tournament.
In 2011, European Cup Tournament was held there.
Montegranaro will be the site this year of the European Cup (which the Qualifying Tournament for the Premiere Cup).
Montegranaro earlier hosted the Cup Winners Cup in 2013 and then the European Premiere Cup in 2014.
Last year, it was the main location for the European Men's Softball Championship.