The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced its Softball World Cup calendar for the nine-year competition period of 2021 to 2029.
The calendar features three different Softball World Cups in the women’s category: the flagship Women’s, U-15 and U-18 Softball World Cups. It also features three Softball World Cups in the men’s categories — the flagship Men’s, U-18 and U-23 — and one mixed-gender Softball World Cup (U-12).
The main event in 2021 on the global softball calendar will be the Olympics, with the upcoming Tokyo Gamesto be staged this summer from 22 to 28 July. However, the WBSC will award two softball World Titles also in 2021. The U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup is scheduled from 28 August to 5 September in Lima, Peru while the U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup will take place in Taichung, Taiwan at a date to be confirmed.
Innovation and Opportunities
Following the pause in the WBSC’s international events calendar in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WBSC took the opportunity to analyse and improve its competitions and events calendar to not only help the WBSC family mitigate the economic crisis the world is facing but also provide greater opportunities for teams to participate as well as for more cities to be able to host WBSC events.
One of the main modifications includes turning all Softball World Cups into four-year cycle events, giving all participating Member Federations more time to prepare and compete in all of these competitions, and setting up a more balanced and efficient competition calendar for these categories.
As part of the review process, the WBSC Executive Board also approved a new, innovative competition system for the Women’s Softball World Cup, the Men’s Softball World Cup and the U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup, named as a “Two-Stage World Cup”.
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New Four-Year Cycle
The WBSC is restructuring the Softball World Cups to be staged on a four-year cycle, shifting from the previous two-year cycle.
The U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup (8), U-18 Men’s (12) and U-23 Men’s World Cups (12) maintain the same number of participating teams, while U-15 Women’s (12), U-18 Women’s (18) and flagship events Women’s and Men’s Softball World Cups (18) have changed the number of participating teams.
The WBSC will award the Women’s Softball World Title to the 2022 World Games winners, as previously announced; therefore, the next continental qualifiers will be scheduled for 2025. The Women’s Softball World Cup’s Group Stage will take place in 2026, with the Finals being held in 2027, with the Softball World Champion being crowned.
The Men’s Softball World Cup, next scheduled for 2022, will start the new format in 2023 with continental qualifiers for the 2025 edition.
A new bidding process for Baseball, Softball and Baseball5 World Cups has also been worked on in order to make the bidding process for WBSC World Cups more orderly, transparent and robust, as well as providing all interested members a clear view of the options available. Full details will be announced in a forthcoming release.