Saturday, December 17, 2005

IOC Member Says Bush Administration's Decision to Ban Cuba From Baseball Tournament Bad for U.S.

By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer

The Associated Press

NEW YORK Dec 16, 2005 — The Bush administration has blocked Cuba from playing in next year's inaugural World Baseball Classic. Now future U.S. Olympic bids may be in trouble as a result.

"It's for baseball to decide, but if they don't make a stand on something like that, then they will have big problems down the road," said Dick Pound, an International Olympic Committee member from Canada, said Thursday.

The U.S. Treasury Department denied a request by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association for a permit to allow Cuba to send a team.

If not reversed, Pound said "it would completely scupper any bid" by the United States for the Summer or Winter Games.

Baseball officials said they had asked lawyers at Morgan Lewis & Bockius to attempt to have the Bush administration reverse the decision by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which by law must issue permits for certain transactions with Fidel Castro's communist country.

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel said any fallout in the IOC was hard to predict because the USOC hasn't decided when it will make its next bid. But he also added: "Certainly it's important for any country that's bidding for the Games to be able to represent with confidence that athletes and coaches from around the world will be able to come to their country."

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