LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Riccardo Fraccari of Italy was elected President of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) on Sunday to conclude the federation’s weekend-long continental meetings and Congress.
Fraccari replaces outgoing President Dr. Harvey W. Schiller who has led the IBAF since taking over mid-term in 2007 for the late Aldo Notari. In thanking the member federations for their support, Fraccari immediately addressed the tasks at hand for the IBAF.
“I want the IBAF to truly be the home of international baseball,” said Fraccari. “It is at this point that we need to shape our future…we need to take care of the development of baseball all over the world. This is the only way to truly become a global sport.”
Fraccari was unopposed in his bid for IBAF President and therefore automatically won the election. The recently re-elected 1st Vice President of the European Baseball Confederation (CEB), Fraccari also served as Continental Vice President (Europe) of the IBAF under Schiller.
He said that building upon the IBAF’s relationship with the world’s top professional leagues is among the most important things he will look to accomplish in his new role.
“It is extremely important for us to strengthen our relationship with the world’s professional leagues,” said Fraccari. “They need us to help continue to develop players worldwide, and we certainly need their support both on and off the field.”
Fraccari served as Vice President of Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) under President Notari from 1985 to 2000 and as an Umpire Commissioner in Italy. He was President of the CEB Technical Commission and a member of the IBAF Technical Commission. He was elected President of the Italian Federation on 8 Dec., 2001 and was recently voted into his third term.
New members of the IBAF’s Executive Committee were also elected on Sunday. Among them are Paul Seiler of the United States and Tony Castro – son of Fidel Castro – of Cuba. The 14-person group will be tasked with helping the federation’s membership continue the growth of international baseball from the grassroots level to the sport’s premiere world championships – the World Baseball Classic and the IBAF Baseball World Cup. Fraccari and the Executive Committee will begin a four-year term on Monday.
The elected Executive Committee is as follows:
President – Riccardo Fraccari, ITA \
1st Vice President – Kazuhiro Tawa, JPN
2nd Vice President – Alonso Perez Gonzalez, MEX
3rd Vice President – Tony Castro, CUB
Secretary General – Israel Roldan, PUR
Treasurer – Rene Laforce, BEL
1st Member at Large – Paul Seiler, USA
2nd Member at Large – Tom Peng, TPE
3rd Member at Large – Luis Melero, ESP
These members are in addition to the IBAF’s Continental Vice Presidents (Presidents of continental federations), each of whom sit on the federation’s Executive Committee as well. These members include: Africa – Ishola Williams, NGR; Americas – Eduardo De Bello, PAN; Asia – Seung-Kyoo Kang, KOR; Europe – Martin Miller, GER; and Oceania – John Ostermeyer, AUS.
Over the last two years Dr. Schiller spearheaded the IBAF’s bid to return to the Olympic Programme in 2016 and oversaw a baseball competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games that witnessed record crowds and spurred interest in the sport throughout the country. Dr. Schiller’s time with the IBAF was also highlighted by the introduction of Baseball World Rankings for both men and women, the birth of an International Women’s Baseball Committee and the first-ever Women’s Continental Championship in Venezuela, an improved online presence with the introduction of IBAF.org, the IBAF becoming fully WADA-compliant, numerous new baseball federations worldwide, and most recently, the first ever IBAF Baseball World Cup to be held in multiple countries throughout Europe (seven countries in total) which featured the most competing nations (22) in the tournament’s history as well.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years as President and leave the position knowing that the best years are yet to come for baseball, and I look forward as a fan and supporter to assisting in any way possible,” said Schiller addressing the Congress.
“Personally I want to thank all of you whom I have come in contact with for all your help and good wishes. Baseball is the ultimate team game, and we would not be successful in our efforts at any level if our whole team was not working toward one goal – growing the game.”