The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Softball Division Executive Board met in Rome, at the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) headquarters.
The Board decided the structure of softball top tier competitions, following a previous decision to restructure the Softball World Championships into Softball World Cups.
The Board decided the launching of new youth Softball World Cups in the U-15 and U-23 age categories.
As previously decided, both men’s and women’s softball will redefine the U-19 age bracket into U-18.
Women’s softball World Cups will be 16-team tournaments. The decision about the format of these tournaments has been postponed to a later date.
Men’s softball World Cups will be 12-team tournaments. The format of these tournaments will be based on two groups of six teams, with the top three qualifying for the super round. The top two of the super-round will play for the title, third and fourth for a bronze medal. The other six teams will compete for positions seven through 12 in the placement round.
Road to the Women ‘s Softball World Cups
The participants will be chosen through a Continental qualifying process, with five National Teams coming from the Americas; three from Europe and Asia; two from Africa and Oceania. The Board will pick the sixteenth team through a wild card.
The inaugural U-15 Women’s Softball World Cup will be played in 2021.
Also the next Women’s World Cup is scheduled for 2021.
The last U-19 Women’s Softball World Championship is scheduled for 2019. The Netherlands will receive a wild card and complete the lot of participants.
The tournament will become the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup starting 2020.
Road to Men’s Softball World Cups
The participants will be chosen through a Continental qualifying process, with 4 National Teams coming from the Americas; 2 from Europe, Asia and Oceania; one from Africa. The twelfth National Team will be a wild card given by the Executive Board. The twelfth participant will be chosen by the Board through a wild card.
The inaugural U-23 Men’s Softball World Cup will be played in 2021.
The last Men’s Softball World Championship will be played in 2019. Cuba will receive a wild card and complete the lot of participants.
The tournament will be then rebranded Men’s Softball World Cup in 2021. The following edition will be played in 2024.
The next Men’s Softball U-18 World Cup is scheduled for 2020.
“I want to thank everybody,” said WBSC Softball Division Chairman Tommy Velazquez “We showed we have the capability of working in the interest of the game of softball.”
“We had an open discussion today and we took some important decisions,” concluded WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari “This is the way to grow. I firmly believe softball is going in the right direction.”