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Softball has been confirmed on the programme for the 2014 Asian Games by teaming up with baseball, setting the scene for further discussions about a joint Olympic reinstatement bid between the two international federations.

Softball had been cut from the Asian Games programme as part of a cost-reducing measure by the organisers, but through collaborating with baseball, softball
has been able keep its presence at the Games according to a recent announcement by the General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia.

President Riccardo Fraccari of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and President Don Porter of the International Softball Federation (ISF) were on hand for the announcement in Tokyo.

Cautiously positive

Riccardo Fraccari reacted cautiously but positively to the OCA's approval of the joint-proposal.

"Softball's pairing with baseball as part of the Asian Games programme is a great sign given to us by the Olympic Council of Asia," Fraccari said. "We are all very happy with the positive outcome here in Tokyo, as this will guarantee the inclusion of more female athletes.

"This result is also a strong indicator of the cooperation between the baseball and softball camps, and speaks of the potential for our institutions to move forward in such a manner."

Difficult task

But Fraccari recognizes the difficult task that the IBAF and ISF have before them in their ambitions for baseball and softball to be reinstated for the 2020 Olympic Games.

"There is still a lot of work to do and not very much time [before 2013]," Fraccari said, "so we need to sit down together to review and develop on this decision here in

The next moves for the the IBAF and ISF could involve forming a Joint Commission to analyse strategy for official cooperation and a joint campaign by the two