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Updated: February 1, 2018
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WBSC replaces World Championships with World Cup

ROME (Italy) - The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced on Thursday (February 1) that the Softball World Cup will be its new flagship brand for women and men softball.

The new Softball World Cup brand identity and tournament-system replaces the current Softball World Championships across all categories: Women’s, Men's, U-19 Women's and U-19 Men's.

In a press release, the WBSC states that the major restructuring of softball’s pinnacle international competitions was decided at the WBSC Softball Division Board meeting in Rome (Italy), hosted in the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

...Riccardo Fraccari...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
,,This new Softball World Cup brand and tournament structure, with continental qualifiers, will be an exciting showcase of the best softball athletes and countries in the world'', said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. ,,The new Softball World Cups will boost our long-term Olympic potential and help our mission to grow a one-billion global baseball/softball community over the next decade''.

WBSC Softball Division Chairman Tommy Velazquez said: ,,The Softball World Cup platform will be positioned to realise maximum global broadcast, commercial and audience growth, providing increased prestige, visibility and attraction to the sport and the elite athletes who dedicate their lives practicing it. This Softball World Cup system with qualifiers will also raise the value and marketability of our Continental Associations and their competitions''.

As part of the new brand identity and restructuring, the new Softball World Cups will be played every two years.

The World Cups for women and men, as well as U-19 women, will be 16-team tournaments. With that, the current open format will be discontinued. The World Cup for men U-19 will be a 12-team format. The participating countries will qualify via Continental Qualiers. In the 16-team format, the representatives will come from Africa (2), Americas (5), Asia (3), Europe (3), Oceania (2) and a Wild Card (1).

This years World Championship Women in Chiba (Japan), will the final one with the current format. The Women’s Softball World Cup will then launch in 2021 and be played every two year in a year before and after the Summer Olympic Games (2021, 2023, etc.).

The next edition of the U-19 Women’s World Championship (Juniors) will continue as previously planned in 2019. Hereafter, the event will shift to even years in 2020 and from then every two years.

The Junior Men’s Softball World Championship to be held this year in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (Canada) will also be the last. The U-19 Men’s Softball World Cup will then launch in 2021 and be played every two years.

The next two editions of the Men’s World Championship in 2019 and 2021 will be played with the current format. It will then shift to even years starting in 2022 and becomes the Men's Softball World Cup.

(February 1)

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