The BSF has granted bursary awards totalling £2550 to 13 players from GB fastpitch teams, most of them under the age of 19, as part of a new scheme set up this year to help players who have been selected to represent Great Britain in major international competitions but who may struggle financially to take up their place.
Additional awards are expected to be made to GB Slowpitch players after their application deadline at the end of May.
Teams and competitions
The awards granted so far are to players on the GB Under-16 Girls' Fastpitch Team, the GB Under-19 Women's and Men's Fastpitch Teams and the GB Women's Team.
All of those teams will be competing in European Championships this year except the GB Under-19 Women, who will be travelling to Canada to play in the prestigious Canada Cup Open Futures Tournament. The GB Women's Team, in addition to European Championships, will be competing against the top teams in the world at the 6th Softball World Cup in Oklahoma City.
Players in need
The BSF Executive decided to introduce the bursary scheme this year following a recommendation from the GB Management Committee. No GB softball team receives any public or external funding, and with sponsorship becoming increasingly difficult in the current economic climate, the costs of competing for their country are falling almost entirely on players and parents.
So the BSF felt it was appropriate to make a limited amount of money available to ensure, as far as possible, that GB team selection is not dictated by economics.
The BSF and the GB Management Committee will review the scheme at the end of the year to see whether it should be maintained in 2012 and beyond.