IOC Vote to Include Softball on the Tokyo 2020 Programme

Softball Ireland has today welcomed the decision of the IOC to reintroduce Softball into the Olympic Games.

The magnitude of the decision cannot be underestimated. The decision is a historic moment for our sport in Ireland and is a very important moment in the development of all variations of our sport at all ages. Softball Ireland  will now be more than ever in a position to apply for multiple levels of funding not previously available.

In addition, Softball will now carry the title of an Olympic Sport which will give our grassroot development a shot in the arm and appeal to school children both male and female. Softball Ireland will now work with Baseball Ireland to formulate a plan in the coming months to maximise this opportunity.

The decision has already had a positive impact on the profile of the sport with the following articles this morning directly quoting Softball Ireland – links to articles below:



I have also attached a copy of the joint press release issued by Softball Ireland and Baseball Ireland last night and I would ask you forward to all your club members

Softball Ireland / Baseball Ireland Join Media Release

IOC Vote to Include Baseball/Softball on the Tokyo 2020 Programme

August 3, 2016 – Baseball Ireland and Softball Ireland have jointly welcomed today’s decision of the 129th IOC Session in Rio De Janeiro to include Baseball and Softball as sports in the Tokyo 2020 Programme. The decision to reintroduce both sports comes 8 years after Baseball and Softball were last in the Olympics in Beijing 2008.

Speaking on today’s decision, Softball Ireland President Colum Lavery said “Today’s decision is momentous for Softball globally and in particular in Ireland. Being part of the Olympic programme and having a chance to qualify for Tokyo in 2020 will help us grow our game in Ireland.

“The format of Softball chosen is female Fastpitch Softball and this aligns with Softball Ireland’s and the Government’s desire to increase the participation of Women in Sport. We will now be able to offer an Olympic Pathway to female athletes that did not previously exist.” added Lavery “Ireland participated in the recent World Championships with a team new to the variation of the game and are now ranked a respectful 26th in the World – we envision competing in Europe in three short years for one of the 2020 Olympic qualification spots.” predicted Lavery

Baseball Ireland President Peter Kavanagh said, “It is fitting that Baseball and Softball should return to the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020. Not only is Baseball the most popular sport in Japan, but these two sports are played in over 140 countries worldwide. With the Irish Women’s Fastpitch Softball Team improving steadily since their inception last year, and the consistent growth of Baseball in Ireland and Europe, a return to the biggest stage of them all is no more than the sports deserve. We hope it proves a success, and that Baseball and Softball can be permanent additions to the Olympic programme.

Application Process

Through the IOC 2020 Agenda initiative, sports were invited to apply for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) on behalf of Men’s Baseball and Womens Softball submitted Baseball/Softballs proposal for inclusion in June 2015. The Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel evaluated proposals from IOC-recognised non-Olympic international sports federations, with Tokyo 2020 and announced a shortlist on 22 June, 2016 of five sports Baseball and softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing and surfing and a total addition of 18 events to be considered at the 129th IOC Session. Today’s decision by the IOC in Rio De Janeiro is a result of ten years work by the Baseball and Softball community globally.