WBSC announces routes to the Tokyo Olympics

Mon 26 Mar 2018

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced the process that will qualify six countries to contest the 

women’s fastpitch softball and the men's baseball tournament at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2020.

The qualification system has been approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Softball qualification

National softball teams will have the opportunity to qualify for the XXXII Olympiad exclusively through four WBSC international tournaments: the Women’s World Championship to be held this summer in Chiba, Japan and then three regional qualifying tournaments to be held in 2019 or early in 2020 for Africa/Europe, the Americas and Asia/Oceania.

Japan, as the host nation, will qualify automatically for a place in the women's softball medal event at its own Olympics.

The GB Women’s Fastpitch Team will have its best chance to get to Tokyo through the Africa/Europe Olympic Qualifier, provided we can finish in one of the top six places in the European Women’s Championship in 2019.  GB is currently ranked third in Europe and has never finished lower than fifth since the European Championship became a single open competition in 2003.

"The four competitions to get into Tokyo 2020 promise to deliver some of the most exciting and meaningful international softball games ever seen," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.  "As the biggest sport in Japan, the historic return of Olympic baseball and softball is expected to make a major buzz and be a magical experience for the athletes and spectators alike, so we can expect that millions around the world will have their sights set on Tokyo 2020 and will do whatever they can to be a part of it."

World Championship

The first opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Softball medal event at Tokyo 2020 will be this August at the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan, where the GB Women’s Team will be one of 16 national teams taking part.  The winner of the tournament in Chiba will be awarded direct entry into Tokyo 2020 without having to pass through Qualifiers.  Should Japan win the World Championship, the runner-up will be granted the Olympic spot.

This will be followed by three regional qualifying events in 2019 or early 2020.

Africa/Europe Qualifier

The Africa/Europe qualification event will be an eight-team tournament, with the winner earning a place at Tokyo 2020.  Competing in this Qualifier will be top six finishers from the European Women’s Championship to be played in Ostrava, Czech Republic in July 2019 and the top two teams from the 2019 African Softball Championship.

The Qualifier is expected to take place in September or October 2019, at a venue to be determined.

Americas Qualifier

The Americas Olympic Qualifier will be a maximum 16-team tournament, with the winner and the second-place nation advancing to Tokyo 2020.  Eligible nations to compete in this Qualifier will be based on the final standings from the 2019 Pan American Championship.

Asia/Oceania Qualifier

The Asia/Oceania Qualifier will be an eight-team tournament, with the winner advancing to Tokyo 2020.  Competing in this Qualifier (not counting already-qualified nations for Tokyo 2020) will be top six finishers from the Asian Softball Championship 2019 and the top two teams from the Oceania Softball Championship 2019.

Olympic regulations

The WBSC has announced that national team roster sizes for the Olympic softball tournament will be 15 athletes, and the athletes must be at least 16 years old prior to the start of the respective event to participate in any of the four qualification events as well as the Olympic Games tournament. Professional players are eligible.

Athletes must comply with Olympic Charter Rule 41 (Nationality of Competitors) and Rule 43 (World Anti-Doping Code and the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions).

The WBSC will announce dates, locations and hosts for the Regional Olympic Qualifiers, along with broadcast rights, later this year.

Baseball qualification

The process for qualifying six nations for the Olympic Baseball Tournament is somewhat different to that for softball.

The first opportunity to advance to the Olympic Baseball medal event at Tokyo 2020 will be the WBSC’s flagship Premier12 tournament in November 2019, where the top 12 nations in the final 2018 Baseball World Rankings will compete and two Olympic spots will be awarded. 

The Premier12's top finisher from the Americas and the top finisher from Asia/Oceania (excluding Japan) will earn direct entries into Tokyo 2020 without having to pass through Qualifiers. 

Two more places will be awarded to winners of an Africa/Europe Qualifier and an Americas Qualifier, with dates and venues to be determined.

The Africa/Europe qualification event will be a six-team tournament, with the winner earning a place at Tokyo.  Competing in this Qualifier will be top five finishers from the European Baseball Championship 2019 and the winner of the African Baseball Championship/Qualifier 2019.  This is GB Baseball’s chance to qualify for Tokyo provided they can finish in the top five in the 2019 European Baseball Championship – something GB has done in the past, but not since 2007.

The Americas Olympic qualifier, where the winner will advance to Tokyo, will be an eight-team tournament bringing together all the Americas representatives from the WBSC Premier12 2019 that did not qualify for Tokyo 2020.  Currently, there are seven nations from the Americas in the Top 12 (Premier12) of the WBSC Baseball World Rankings.  The top finisher(s) from the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru would complete the eight-team field

The final Olympic Baseball qualifier will be a six-team world tournament for the last remaining place at Tokyo 2020.  Participants will include:

  • The second-place finisher from the Africa/Europe Qualifier.
  • The second and third-place finishers from the Americas Qualifier.
  • The top two finishers from the 2019 Asian Championship (not counting nations already qualified for Tokyo 2020).
  • The winner of the 2019 Oceania Qualifier.

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