The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced today the 12 participating teams and groups of the inaugural WBSC U-23 Men’s Softball World Cup, to be played in Parana, Argentina, from 15-23 April.
The 12 participating teams, from the five Olympic continents, are:
- Africa (1): No. 12 South Africa
- Americas (4): No. 1 Argentina (host), No. 8 Venezuela, No. 10 Mexico, Team WBSC*
- Asia (2): No. 3 Japan, No. 14 Singapore
- Europe (2): No. 6 Czechia, No. 21 Israel
- Oceania (2): No. 4 Australia, No. 7 New Zealand
- Wild Card (1): No. 2 Canada
The event was originally scheduled to be played in Argentina in October 2022 before being postponed. After opening a new bidding process to host the tournament, the WBSC Executive Board awarded Argentina the hosting rights for this event in 2023.
The maiden edition of the WBSC U-23 Men’s Softball World Cup will be played at Nafaldo Cargnel Stadium in Parana. This will be the second World Cup to be hosted in this venue, since the Junior Men’s Softball World Cup 2012 was played in this diamond.
The teams will start the tournament with a group stage (round-robin):
- Group A: Argentina, Australia, Czechia, Mexico, South Africa, Singapore
- Group B: Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Venezuela, Team WBSC*, Israel
The top three finishers from each group will advance to the Super Round. The finals are set for Saturday, 23 April.
Due to the postponement of the event, the age limit for the tournament has been extended to allow all eligible players in 2022 to compete in the tournament in April next year.
This is the first edition of the WBSC U-23 Men’s Softball World Cup, one of the three tournaments to be added to WBSC portfolio this year, along with the maiden editions of the WBSC U-15 Women’s Softball World Cup and the WBSC Baseball5 Youth World Cup.
* Since the National Olympic Committee of Guatemala has been suspended by the International Olympic Committee, the Guatemalan athletes cannot represent their country or compete under its flag and name at international sports events. In respect of the athletes’ rights to participate in the World Cup, they will compete at the WBSC U-23 Men’s Softball World Cup under the WBSC flag.