The mid term Congress of the IBAF left President Riccardo Fraccari satisfied: "We felt a lot of support and this gives us motivation to work even harder".
The XXVI Congress was ordinary only according to the official definition. In fact, in Dallas the IBAF moved very important steps forward. Fraccari's vision of the future was publicly shared by the professional organizations (MLB hosted the Congress; NPB, KBO and CPBL were in Dallas as guests), by the youth organizations and by the world of softball.
According to many, the key step towards Olympic reinstatement is a joint bid by baseball and softball. The President of the International Softball Federation (ISF) Don Porter attended the Congress and offered his full support to the project. The Congress delegated the Executive to discuss the terms and sign an agreement with the ISF.
After the Financial Reports of the organization were approved, Treasurer René Laforce explained very clearly that the IBAF had to cut expenses to survive and that the fees received for the 2011 World Cup and the contribution cashed following the agreement with Major League Baseball were of great relief to the finances of the International Federation.
The tournament will have to provide more resources in the future of the IBAF. To put it into Fraccari's words: "The senior tournament must be the locomotive of our train".
The IBAF introduced in Dallas a new format to the International schedule. The World Baseball Classic will be the main tournament and will award the World Champion title to the winner.
"It is not true that we won't have the World Cup anymore" said Fraccari "It is true that the Classic has been transformed into a real World Championship".
For the first time the Classic will include a Qualifier, to be played in the Fall of 2012. Other tournaments happening in 2012 will be the Women World Cup and the former AA World Cup, that will become a tournament for players of age 15 and under.
The 16 team World Baseball Classic is scheduled for March 2013 and in the same year the IBAF and MLB will launch and 18 and Under Classic, that will replace the IBAF AAA World Cup (happening as well in 2012).
The IBAF is going to launch 2 more tournaments: a World Cup for players of age 21 and under in 2014 and the so called Premier 12, a senior tournament for the best 12 teams in the World, in 2015. Both the World Baseball Classic and the Premier 12 will happen every fourth year, while every other tournament sanctioned by the IBAF will happen every other year.
"We still have to work on eligibility criteria and we need to be careful in finding the right dates for every tournament, but it is a huge step forward" commented Riccardo Fraccari.
The new tournament format will have the support of MP&Silva, the international Media Agency that signed a partnership agreement with the IBAF. MP&Silva will work to increase the visibility of baseball and to link the IBAF to marketing and sponsorship agencies.