The British Baseball Federation, British Softball Federation and BaseballSoftballUK have released the following statement regarding the announcement of the LA28 Olympic Programme made at the 141st International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Mumbai today, 16 October:
“The announcement today that the LA28 Olympic Games will include baseball and women’s fastpitch softball is a major milestone for British baseball and softball.
Since the Great Britain Women’s Softball team reached the final of the 2019 Olympic Qualifier, the goal of playing on the Olympic stage has been at the forefront of both national teams programmes.
Today’s announcement validates the hard work and dedication of the players from the Senior National Teams, as well as the coaches and operations staff throughout the two programmes. A new generation of British baseball and softball players can now aspire to be Olympians.
Both the Great Britain Baseball and Women’s Fastpitch Senior National Teams will now work towards qualification for the LA28 games and look forward to details of the qualification process being released.
There is no doubt that 2023 has been a massive year for Great Britain Baseball, starting with the team’s debut at the World Baseball Classic, where they picked up their first win in programme history and automatically qualified for the 2026 Classic.
The Senior Baseball Team also secured their third-ever European Silver medal in September, while the U23 programme also reached new heights, winning silver at the U23 European Championships for the first time and thereby qualifying for the 2024 U23 Baseball World Cup in China.
Today’s announcement caps off one of the most impactful years in British baseball history. With more than 110,000 fans attending the MLB World Tour: London Series in June, and with more than 2,000 players active in the United Kingdom, the sport is as popular as ever, and the aspiration of playing at the Olympics will only promote baseball further.
The Great Britain Baseball programme is ranked 18th in the latest WBSC World Rankings, and the team looks forward to the challenge of qualification for the 2028 Games.
Since the Great Britain Women’s Fastpitch Team was founded in 1984, seven head coaches and more than 200 players have donned the Great Britain uniform, and have represented GBR in World Cups, European Championships, and many more competitions. Currently ranked 12th in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the Senior Women’s Team programme has entered the world conversation as one of softball’s premier national teams.
Coming off the Softball World Cup Group Stage this summer, which saw GBR defeat the then-world ranked #3 team in Chinese Taipei and 2020 Tokyo Olympic participants Australia, Great Britain Softball has never been in a stronger position to qualify for the Olympics. More importantly, though, is that today’s announcement tells British women and girls that their Olympic dream is within reach.
Both the Great Britain Senior Baseball Team and the Great Britain Women’s Senior Fastpitch Team hold European silver medals and are on a trajectory that will enable them to compete with the world’s best teams both in the short term and for years to come.
BaseballSoftballUK Head of Performance Gary Anderson: “Everything we have achieved over the last two years was because we believed that our sports would be included in the programme for LA2028. I have been so fortunate to lead teams at previous Olympic Games; there is nothing else like it and I know that we can inspire and change lives forever with this opportunity.
The trajectory we are on is so exciting, and the key now is the in-depth planning to maintain that. We have in place knowledgeable and experienced staff leading the process and both squads, by our own design, are very young, so that in 2028 they will be at their peak. We have a very talented group of athletes who are so excited that the sports will be part of the medal programme at the 2028 Olympic Games.”
The British Baseball and Softball Federations and BaseballSoftballUK would like to express their sincere thanks to the LA28 Organising Committee for their efforts to include the sports in the 2028 Olympics, as well as to the IOC Executive and the 141st IOC Session for ratifying the Olympic Programme.
We would also like to thank UK Sport for their ongoing support throughout this process, and for their funding of our Senior National Team programmes through the National Squads Support Funding stream over the past four years.
All three organisations – BaseballSoftballUK, the British Baseball Federation and the British Softball Federation -- will now work with UK Sport and our stakeholders to take advantage of today’s decision both for the National Team programmes and on the wider British baseball and softball community.