OKLAHOMA CITY -- The 27th WBSC Softball Congress concluded October 16 following three days of commission meetings at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. Delegates from 42 countries across five regions joined top world governing body officials, including WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari and WBSC Softball President Dale McMann, to discuss and decide numerous on- and off-field topics related to world softball governance and the sport's global activities.
Prior to the start of the Congress, CONPASA -- the regional softball confederation for the Americas -- also met.
Throughout the Congress, emphasis was given to youth and modernization inspired by the IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020.
"The WBSC, through the Softball Division, was pleased to welcome delegates from 42 national federations to gather together to discuss important challenges facing our sport today. With all regions of the world in attendance, our sport can continually evolve to put the best possible sport forward for our current and future generations bringing a value-added benefit globally."
A long-range strategic plan was presented and overwhelmingly supported. An implementation commission was appointed and will immediately start working on its execution. The four pillars of the plan include:
- Strengthening our organization
- Developing our coaches and officials
- Improving our athletes
- Enhancing our events
For streamlined governance and financial reasons, the WBSC Softball Board of Directors will be reduced from 22 members to 13 members following the conclusion of the 2017 Congress. Athletes and regions will continue to have equal representation.
Four world championship hosts were awarded for the next two calendar years, 2018-2019.
- 2018 WBSC Junior Men's Softball World Championship: Prince Albert, SK, Canada
- 2018 WBSC Women's Softball World Championship: Chiba, Japan
- 2019 WBSC Junior Women's Softball World Championship: Irvine, CA, USA
- 2019 WBSC Men's Softball World Championship: Prague/Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic.
The 2017 Softball Division Congress host was awarded to Gaborone, Botswana. This will mark the third time that Africa has hosted the gathering of softball officials, following the 8th ISF Congress in South Africa in 1977 and the 1st WBSC Congress in Tunisia in 2014.
A special moment of silence was given to officials within the softball world who passed, especially softball's 2nd Vice President Jesus Suniaga (VEN) and WBSC Vice President Reynaldo Gonzalez (MEX).
Due to the passing of Mr. Suniaga, a special election was held for the vacant position of second vice president. Tommy Velazquez of Puerto Rico won and will take place immediately. Miguel Acosta Serrano (CUB) was then elected as regional vice president for Latin America.
The Softball Hall of Fame Class of 2015 was elected covering administrators, coaches, players and umpires, which included: