The 2024 World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe Congress was held in the city of Benalmádena, on the coast of Malaga, Spain, from 8-10 February, with 48 out of a possible 52 Federations attending.

The British Softball Federation was represented at the Congress by President Lesley Morisetti and National Teams Officer Dr Alice Hunter and the British Baseball Federation was represented by President Chris Deacon.  BSUK CEO John Boyd and Performance Director/Olympic Team Leader Gary Anderson also attended, and Mike Jennings was there in his role as WBSC Europe’s Technical and Competitions Director.

From WBSC Europe’s point of view, the Congress was a celebration of the international growth and innovation of baseball/softball in Europe and around the world, with 26 events – half of them softball and half of them baseball – having been held in Europe last summer.

Leaders’ comments

Addressing the Congress, WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said: "On 10 May we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the WBSC with World Baseball and Softball Day and the return of baseball and softball to the Olympic programme in Los Angeles in 2028.  We also have exciting projects to celebrate, such as the popularity of Baseball5, the new Champions League of Baseball, the WBSC Legacy Club, and the WBSC's prominent role in eSport within the Olympic Movement, as well as our continued path in the Olympic Games, with Brisbane 2032 as the next goal.

"It has not been easy to unite the international baseball and softball federations that for decades have followed different and sometimes contradictory paths, but today we can say that all the uncertainties and doubts that some had at the beginning of this journey have been overcome," Fraccari added.

“The WBSC is now one big family and WBSC Europe is an important part of it."

WBSC Europe President Kruno Karin opened the Congress by highlighting the continent's growth in all areas, while applauding France for becoming the first European nation to reach the #1 position in the WBSC/KONAMI Baseball5 World Ranking.

"My congratulations to France for showing what is possible," said Karin. "Europe is growing well in baseball, softball and Baseball5. The numbers in baseball in particular show that it can be a great sport on our continent.”

There was one disappointment for Britain at the Congress as venues that will host the various European Championships and Cups in 2024 were confirmed: with no host having come forward to the stage the planned European Men’s Slowpitch Championship, the tournament was unfortunately cancelled.

BSF President Lesley Morisetti said: "As this was my first Congress, it was quite the eye-opener: lots of chat, lots of policy, and some behind the scenes wrangling.  But on the whole, it was a great opportunity to meet fellow Europeans who love our sport and dedicate hours and hours of their time to making the 'machine' work.  In future, I would like to see more collaboration between Great Britain and other WBSC Europe members, as we seem to be on the edge – and not just geographically -- and we could learn a lot from each other's experiences.

“All in all, a very good experience, with lots to take away, and a deeper understanding of how WBSC Europe works."

Hall of Fame

Five new members were voted into the WBSC Europe Hall of Fame at the meeting:

Softball players:  Cornelia Chwojka (Austria) and Theourania Zavitsanou (Greece).
Softball coach:  Dionysis Chorafas (Greece).

Baseball administrators:  Luis Ángel Melero Martin (Spain) and Stamos "Tom" Mazarakis (Greece).

Three new members were elected to the WBSC Europe Executive Committee:

Baseball5 Vice-President:  Youri Alkalay (Bulgaria).
General Member for Baseball:  Pawel Szczepanik (Poland).
General Member for Softball:  Konstantinos Liarommatis (Greece).

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, was confirmed as the venue for the 8th WBSC Europe Congress, to be held from 7-9 February 2025.