WBSC launches two new Softball World Cups

Thu 29 Nov 2018

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the launch of two new Softball World Cups: an Under-15 Women's Softball World Cup and an Under-23 Men's Softball World Cup.

These two new global tournaments for national teams will be staged for the first time in 2021 and be positioned as the highest-level softball competitions in their respective age categories, with the winners officially earning the title of World Champion.

For British softball, this means that the current GB Under-16 Women’s Team will compete in a European Under-16 Women’s Championship for the last time this summer and then become an Under-15 programme and compete in a European Under-15 Women’s Championship in 2020.

There is currently no GB Men’s Team at Under-23 level, but the BSF will consider starting one if the ESF institutes a European Under-23 Men’s Championship.


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"Softball is practiced by millions of young people in over 140 countries,” said WBSC Softball Division Chairman Tommy Velazquez, “and the launch of these two new pinnacle international softball competitions marks another historic milestone in the evolution and growth of the sport.”

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said, "These two new Softball World Cups will help capture the momentum from softball's Olympic return at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where it is anticipated that baseball and softball will be amongst the most popular and followed sports.

"The WBSC is continuously looking at ways to evolve the format of our sports and competitions so that we remain relevant amongst the next generation of sports fans,” Fraccari added, “and these changes are a fundamental part of that process.”

In addition to the launch of the new Softball World Cups, the WBSC Board has voted to shift from an Under-19 to an Under-18 age bracket for Junior Softball World Cups for men and women after next year.
 

The road to the new World Cups

Both of the new Softball World Cups will be 12-team tournaments, although the flagship Women's Softball World Cup and the Under-18 Women's Softball World Cup will feature a 16-team format.

Nations will earn the right to compete in Softball World Cups through a Continental Championship qualifying process, with the following global allocations:

Male Softball World Cups and the Under-15 Women's World Cup - 12 National Teams:
Africa: One (1)
Asia: Two (2)
Americas: Four (4)
Europe: Two (2)
Oceania:  Two (2)
Wild Card: One (1)

Women's Softball World Cup and Under-18 Women's World Cup - 16 National Teams:
Africa: Two (2)
Asia: Three (3)
Americas: Five (5)
Europe: Three (3)
Oceania: Two (2)
Wild Card: One (1)


Wild cards

The WBSC Board has awarded the Netherlands a wild card entry to the final Under-19 Women's Softball World Cup, to be played in 2019 in Irvine, California.  From its next edition in 2020, this competition will be converted into an Under-18 Women’s World Cup and staged every two years.

Cuba has been awarded a wild card for the final Men's Softball World Championship, to be played in Prague, Czech Republic in 2019.  This event will then be restructured into the Men's Softball World Cup and launched in 2021.

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