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Return to Play Guidelines

WBSC issues baseball and softball safety guidelines in light of COVID-19

In accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s guidance for large sporting events, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has published health and operational recommendations for the safe resumption of baseball and softball action. Developed by the WBSC Medical Commission in accordance with the World Health Organization’s risk assessment tool and entitled Safe Return to Baseball/Softball -- COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines, the precautions are in the best interest of the health and well-being of athletes, coaches, umpires, staff, and fans.

Recommendations to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections include: Avoid sharing of competition equipment. Each player should have his/her own bat, helmet, glove, batting gloves, rosin bags, etc.; Batters shall retrieve their own bat when possible; No chewing tobacco, seeds or spitting at any time; Players (in particular pitchers), shall not lick their fingers; Umpires shall wear masks and gloves; If possible, avoid line-up exchange at home plate; Avoid physical contact, such as shaking hands, high fives, fist bumps, hugging, etc.; Ball prep (mud rubbing) to be done by one appointed personnel with protective rubber gloves; Different set of official balls for home and visiting teams while on defense; Coaches may always approach umpire keeping a minimum distance of two meters; Home Plate umpire shall avoid coming in contact with catcher; Minimum physical distance of one metre shall always be kept in dugout; Bases shall be cleaned every half inning; No bat boys/girls shall be allowed.

It is up to each National Federation to develop its own specific written policies and operating protocols in coordination with their respective local health authorities before returning to competition. WBSC’s full list of Safe Return to Baseball/Softball -- COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines can be viewed HERE. WHO’s Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19 is available HERE. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti