The World Baseball and Softball Confederation announced today it has appointed the European Olympic Qualifier to Bologna and Parma in Italy. Where in the recent past, Spain was mentioned as a possible candidate, the WBSC went into a different direction.
As mentioned in the prologue, Spain was a possible candidate but at some point the global governing body of baseball and softball looked to the Netherlands as a possible candidate, especially to Hoofddorp and Utrecht. The first of the two cities has a fine facility and the experience to organize tournaments like this.
For an undisclosed reason, the WBSC turned away from Hoofddorp and eventually appointed Utrecht to be the host of the Softball Qualifier as a sweetener. In the meantime, the Italian cities of Bologna and Parma joined forces in an attempt to get the Olympic Qualifier. Totally surpassing the Italian federation, the FIBS, both clubs were approached by Fraccari.
So why Fraccari turned to Bologna and Parma instead of Hoofddorp and Utrecht is shrouded in mystery. Why not Spain? Spain also has a good facility located in Barcelona, where the Olympic baseball tournament once was played in 1992. This location had not benefited Italy or the Netherlands.
Apparently, as former chairman of the FIBS, it is important to Fraccari that Italy, that has not appeared in an Olympic Tournament since missing the qualification in 2004, will go to the Olympics next year. It is hard to give substance to these words, but the shady way in which Fraccari negotiated with the two Italian cities, without even consulting the FIBS, has all the earmarks of being it.
The Olympic Qualifier will be played from September 18 – 22, right after the European Championship that will be played in Bonn and Solingen (Germany) from September 6 – 15. The five best countries of the 2019 European Championship will be qualified for the Olympic Qualifier, together with the best country of the African continent, which will likely be South Africa.