The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has agreed a new partnership with the Play For Change (PFC) charitable trust, aimed at enabling more children around the world to benefit from PFC’s sports programmes, which strive to improve education, employment and health.
With baseball and softball’s global positioning across more than 140 countries, it is hoped the partnership will be able to increase availability of educational, health, and social sports programmes to reach the lives of more children and their communities around the world.
PFC, through its sports programmes, has seen participation from more than 6,000 children this year through sports such as badminton, basketball, football and volleyball.
It is expected to be able to further expand the reach of the programmes in 2017 with the addition of baseball and softball.
PFC and WBSC will work together in an attempt to begin baseball and softball programmes in targeted territories, while boosting programme resources – baseball and softball educational materials, coaching and training, and kit and equipment – worldwide.
They also intend to plan joint fundraising activities.
“The WBSC is tremendously honoured to partner with Play For Change to help expand the important humanitarian efforts that they are leading, and for baseball and softball to have a role in them,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.
“As a world governing body of a major sport, WBSC and all our stakeholders take this duty very seriously.
“With partners like Play For Change, I am very hopeful and confident that a more level playing field can be cultivated, with more educational, sporting and life opportunities being brought to undeserved children and communities around the world.”
Partnering with PFC aligns with the WBSC’s ongoing social responsibility efforts to use the power and enjoyment of sport to up-skill communities while reducing many of the inequalities that can act as a barrier to positive futures.
“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with WBSC,” Louisa MacDonald, PFC’s programmes coordinator, added.
“With WBSC’s global influence and PFC’s commitment to improving lives through sport, we can reach more children around the world.
“Sport is a powerful tool that can be used to tackle many of the inequalities that exist and it is great to have federations, such as WBSC, on board who share a passion of driving positive social change.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) unanimously voted in August to add men’s baseball and women’s softball events to the Tokyo 2020 sports programme along with karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.
Tokyo 2020 and the IOC appear to have closed the door on the possibility of a second Olympic baseball and softball venue in the capital city’s Metropolitan area during the Games, however.
It came as the Yokohama Stadium was confirmed as the main Olympic venue during a presentation given at the IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne earlier this month.
Holding preliminary games in an additional venue in the Fukushima Prefecture is still being considered, after the prospect was mooted as a way to revitalise an area devastated by a 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami which left 16,000 dead.
But, while theoretically supportive of this plan, the WBSC has previously revealed to insidethegames how their priority remains a second venue in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.
They claim the 320 kilometres distance from Fukushima to Yokohama would place an unfair burden on athletes.
By Daniel Etchells
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.