The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the Tokyo 2020 Games qualifying system, approved by the International Olympic Committee.
WBSC members and affiliated national teams are eligible to qualify only through participation in four international tournaments/sport.
“The eight competitions promise to deliver some of the most exciting and meaningful international baseball and softball games ever seen,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.
As representatives of the host nation, the Tokyo baseball and softball national teams will be given automatic entry into the medal events. The remaining five teams in each sport will be determined under the following tournament structure.
The WBSC Premiere 12, to be held in November 2019, will be the first opportunity for advancement on the baseball side. There, two Olympic spots will be awarded. The top finishers from the Americas and the Asia/Oceania, excluding Japan, will earn direct entry to the Games. The teams to participate in the Premiere 12 will be determined by the final WBSC Baseball World Rankings at the end of 2018.
The winner of the Africa/Europe Qualifier, which will be a six-team tournament, will earn a place in Tokyo 2020. The playing field will be comprised of the top five finishers of the 2019 European Baseball Championship and the winner of the African Baseball Championship 2019. Germany will host the event but there has been no date released for the 2019 tournament.
The Americas qualifier winner will advance to the 2020 Games. The competition will include eight teams, bringing together all the Americas teams in the Premiere 12 who do not qualify out of that tournament. The top finisher from the Pan American Games, in Lima 2019, will compete as the 8th team.
As of this moment, seven of the top 12 teams in the WBSC World Rankings are from the Americas, including #1 ranked USA and 3 others, including #2 Japan, are from Asia. This accounts for the weighted participation in favor of these areas.
The third and final qualifier will be the Intercontinental Qualifier. This will be a six-team tournament for the remaining spot in the Olympic Games. This is the wildcard game that gives teams in every nation reason to fight through their qualifying rounds. Participating teams will be:
The 2nd place finisher from the Africa/Europe Qualifier
The 2nd and 3rd place finishers from the Americas Qualifier
Winner of the Oceania Qualifier 2019
The top two finishers from the Asia Championship 2019 (discounting national otherwise qualified)
There will be just 24 spots available to every national team for the Olympic baseball games. Athletes must be 18-years or older, prior to the start of the event, to participate in any of the four qualifiers and/or the Olympic Games. Professional players are eligible. Nationality must be provable under Olympic Charter Rule 41 and Athletes must comply with Rule 43, regulated by the World Anti-Doping Code.
On the softball side of things, the first opportunity to qualify will come much earlier. This August, during the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan, the 1st place winner will receive direct entry to the Olympic Games. If Japan wins the tournament, then the 2nd place team will be awarded the spot.
In 2019, the Africa/Europe Qualifier will be an eight-team tournament with the winner advancing to the Games. The top six finishers from the June 2019 European Softball Championship, and the top two teams from the 2019 African Softball Championship, will be the participants.
The Americas qualifying tournament will max out at 16 teams with the winner and 2nd place finisher advancing to Tokyo 2020. Eligibility of qualifying nations will be based on the final standings at the Pan American Championship 2019.
Qualifying teams from the Asia/Oceania region will be determined by an eight-team tournament with the winner advancing to the Summer Games. The top six finishers from the Asia Softball Championship in 2019, excluding the teams already otherwise qualified for the games and the top two teams in the Championship, will advance to the Games.
Rosters will cap out at 15 athletes/team. All athletes must be at least 16-years old, prior to the start of any event, to participate in the qualifiers and/or the Olympic Games. Professional players are eligible. Nationality must be provable under Olympic Charter Rule 41 and Athletes must comply with Rule 43, regulated by the World Anti-Doping Code.
The qualifying system was revealed during the WBSC Executive Meetings, held at the headquarters of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee in Paris, this past weekend.