Francs Jeux is the first media dedicated to sport in the Francophonie.
Francs Jeux: Why are you running for CEB President ?
Didier Seminet: We need a project and a new dynamic to help grow the game of baseball in Europe and step it into the limelight.
The French Baseball & Softball Federation is one of the few to grow in Europe. It has a vision and ambition. We are an open group of National Federations to think that a new momentum is needed for CEB by assembling a team and overhaul the way our sport is organized to make it more competitive and attractive in Europe.
What is your opinion about the current situation of CEB and Baseball in Europe ?
There is no dynamic, no vision today within CEB.
Looking at how popular our sport is in Asia or the Americas, we definitely see the long path to give baseball its deserved spot on the european stage. It’s hard to believe than only one european citizen out of ten knows that baseball is played in Europe when our sport is one of the most popular worldwide.
There is still a lot to do in Europe and in my opinion it starts with a strong European body able to bring all NFs together, defines a shared vision and take action.
What is your election manifesto ?
I’m in favor of the merger of baseball and softball. The French Baseball & Softball Federation is a combined Federation and so are more than 60% of NFs in Europe. The international federation also is since 2013 and the birth of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (one of the landmark of the IOC for the reinstatement in the Olympic programme). The future of baseball and softball fall within this union and my goal is to bring CEB and ESF to merge before the 2020 Olympics.
We then need to completely overhaul the way CEB works. The competition system is not adapted to promotion and the development of marketable events – not taking into the account the issues of merchandising, video recording, broadcasting and TV rights where we start from scratch, we are low on human and financial ressources, we are not able to provide NFs with development support…it’s a enormous task to tackle !
What do you think of your chances to be elected ?
I feel confident. My candidacy comes after months of meetings with as many National Federations as I had the opportunity to talk with. Together with an open group of NFs we think that we have to step forward and I believe that I’m the right man for the job.
How do you plan to follow up with the reinstatement of baseball/softball to the Olympic programme ?
It is our duty to show that the IOC made the right decision by reinstating baseball/softball to the Olympic programme. The IF had a complete overhaul (birth of the WBSC, compliance with the 2020 Agenda, aso.) and I wish Europe walks in the steps of the WBSC.
There is no doubt about the success of the baseball/softball event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but we have to demonstrate that this sporting disciplines can be successfully part of any Olympic Games, not matter where they are organized.
What will be your top priority if you win on February the 4th ?
My top priority will be to work on the merging of CEB and ESF before the 2020 Olympics and bring a new dynamic to baseball/softball in Europe.