ROME (AP) — The International baseball and softball federations signed an agreement Monday to join forces in a bid to get back into the Olympics, while proposing a shortened tournament they hope will attract Major League Baseball players.
The International Baseball Federation and International Softball Federation announced a memorandum to move ahead with a proposed merger that would be overseen by an eight-person joint committee.
Baseball and softball were voted off the Olympic program in 2005, making their last appearance at the 2008 Beijing Games. They are bidding to be reinstated for the 2020 Games.
The sports are preparing a presentation to the IOC's Olympic Program Commission in December. The merger still requires approval from the IBAF and ISF congresses.
IBAF president Riccardo Fraccari is proposing a six-day Olympic baseball tournament featuring eight teams, and would be open to having MLB players just for the semifinals and finals.
The IOC will vote in September 2013 to add one sport. Karate, roller sports, squash, sport climbing, wakeboard and wushu also are in contention.