At a time where IBAF and ISF have merged on the international stage to form the World Baseball Softball Confederation, it seems opportune for CEB and ESF to study the feasibility of combining their federations into one single body. In this regard a joint commission has been created in 2015 however no further steps have been taken to analyse this venture seriously.
The timing has however never seemed more appropriate as steps taken by baseball/softball are closely examined by institutional bodies, from state level all the way up to the International Olympic Committee which made WBSC’s birth (in 2013) a landmark for the reinstatement of our sport in the Olympic programme (in 2016).
But it’s not just about combining to comply with IOC standards. It’s way more, in fact it just is the natural order.
Maybe it’s sound obvious to me because I come from a combined Federation (the French Baseball & Softball Federation). Actually, historically speaking and from my perspective baseball & softball is only one sport with men’s baseball, women’s baseball, men’s softball and women’s softball as the sporting disciplines. There are some slight differences to respect between the two but most in world sport and the media view baseball and softball as brother and sister. I believe they are part of the same family.
A close look at the National Federations of Europe also stands in favor as more than 60% of them are already combined. Furthermore the only reason why some of the remaining 40% NFs have separated bodies is because of the grant they get from their Sports Ministry or National Olympic Committee. Their funding would be cut (usually by two) if they only had one federation which raises the issue of funding – where CEB/ESF have to provide an efficient answer – but not the issue of the sense, utility and will to do it.
Last but not least all NOCs recently asked Baseball and Softball NFs to combine following the IOC decision to recognize WBSC as the sole international body for baseball/softball. It would then create an irrational situation where the continental level has two separate federations while both national and international level have only one.
That’s why I believe that all candidates to CEB/ESF 2017 Elections shall be in favor of the combining of the two federations and bring it as a top priority on their agenda, prior to the 2020 Olympics, for the birth of an “European Baseball & Softball Confederation”.