The World Baseball Softball Confédération (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Marc Truffaut, the president of the International Sports Federation for athletes with an intellectual impairment (VIRTUS), a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) registered in the UK.
The WBSC agrees to maintain a new intellectual impairment class as part of future events where possible and to promote the inclusion of players with an intellectual impairment in competitions.
The definition, administration and management of athlete eligibility will be the responsibility of VIRTUS. The WBSC agrees to become a member of VIRTUS and will appoint a representative to sit on the VIRTUS Sports Council.
"This MOU with VIRTUS marks a significant step in the WBSC's continuous effort to grow baseball and softball and increase accessibility to our sport," President Fraccari said. "We are committed to seeking recognition by the IPC and have baseball/softball a sport on the programme of the Paralympic Games by Brisbane 2032."
"Virtus is really pleased to embark on this new partnership with the WBSC to grow baseball/softball for players with an intellectual impairment," commented VIRTUS executive director Nick Parr, who will soon join the WBSC Paralympic Commission as chairperson. "We work closely with several International Sports Federations, and this latest agreement represents an exciting new opportunity for us."
The WBSC Paralympic Commission listed among the objectives of the Strategic Plan 2022-2028 the creation of a Baseball5 version for athletes with an intellectual impairement.
The WBSC is the sixth International federation, including World Karate, World Sailing, World Taekwondo, European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) and Confédération Internationale Francophone Sport Adapté Culture (CIFSAC), with whom VIRTUS has partnerships to grow sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment.
OU commits the two parties to encourage respective national federations to work together to promote baseball/softball for athletes with an intellectual impairment.