The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) awarded today the hosting rights of the flagship WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup to Italy, Ireland and Spain. Each of these three European nations will host a group of the Softball World Cup in 2023, with Italy hosting the Finals in 2024. The decision was approved by the WBSC Executive Board on Thursday.
This will be the first time that Ireland, Italy and Spain will host a Softball World Cup in any category, and the second time the Women’s Softball World Cup is played in Europe, after the Netherlands organised the tournament in 2014.
“We’re delighted to bring the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup back to Europe, with Ireland, Italy and Spain having the honour of co-hosting the biggest international softball event,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “The Women’s Softball World Cup represents the first WBSC World Cup to be played under the innovative Two-Stage format, that gives more flexibility and opportunities for cities, regions and countries to host and participate in WBSC events.”
Under the new Two-Stage format, an expanded number of 18 teams representing the five Olympic continents will be drawn into three groups of six teams. The top two teams from each group of the Group Stage, plus two wild cards, will advance to the eight-team World Cup Finals, to be hosted in Italy in 2024.
One of the groups will be hosted in Fingal, Ireland, just a few miles outside the country’s capital Dublin, where a purpose-built softball venue for the tournament will be used.
“We’re so proud of being named co-hosts of the next Women’s Softball World Cup,” said Melanie Cunningham, Director of Fastpitch Ireland. “The development of a facility together with the hosting of such a prestigious event as the World Cup will inspire the next generation of Irish softballers and is perfect to continue developing all disciplines of our sport in our country. This will remain as a long-lasting legacy for our softball community for years to come.”
Buttrio and Castions di Strada, in Italy, will receive a WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup group in 2023 and the Finals in 2024. “We are very proud that Italy is hosting the Women’s Softball World Cup in 2023 and 2024. It’s the first time for our country and the second time ever in Europe,” stated Andrea Marcon, Italian Baseball and Softball Federation President. “I believe this choice also comes from the successful organization of the European Championship in 2021, when we had the opportunity to work side by side with WBSC personnel and our facilities were so much appreciated from both the standpoints of play and welcoming. These events are really, really good for our sport and we are eager to host softball fans from all over the world.”
The Valencia Municipal Baseball & Softball Field in Valencia, Spain, will be the stage for the third group next year. “We are very excited that Spain, which has never hosted a Women’s Softball World Cup, has been chosen as a co-host. This event will be a turning point for Spanish softball and its future growth,” said Jesús Lisarri, Spanish Royal Baseball and Softball Federation President. “It’s with pride that Valencia is the venue for the event. We have the support of the Superior Council for Sports, the Government of Valencia, Valencia’s Province Council, Valencia’s City Council and other local institutions in a candidacy such significant as this one, demonstrating the commitment of all of them to sport and equality, with women’s sport as a protagonist.”
The exact dates of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage and Finals will be announced at a later stage.