Friday, January 06, 2006

IBF Puts Classic in Doubt

By BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

The World Baseball Classic is turning into a 100-metre hurdles event.

The International Baseball Federation, disappointed with the current U.S. Treasury Department's stance on Cuba not being allowed to participate, has let it be known that if Cuba is not allowed to compete, the event will not be sanctioned.

Member countries competing would then be expected to follow suit and drop out, or face being banned from any future international competitions.

IBAF president Aldo Notari, of Italy, wrote in his fax to the Major League Baseball Players Association, MLB and all the countries involved that the IBF sanctioning of the tournament was based on the fundamental principles of the Olympic charter. The IABF is a member of the IOC and thereby must abide by the Olympic charter.

BEST MAJOR-LEAGUERS

A total of 16 countries with the best major-leaguers from each country available, are scheduled to play in four round-robin tournaments in March. The top two teams would then advance to the championship game in San Diego on March 20.

A portion of the Olympic charter cited in the fax states: "Any form of discrimination to a country or person on grounds of race, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with the Olympic movement."

The U.S. had a trade embargo with Cuba so that a Cuban national can't garner any wages or prize money in the States, hence the involvement of the treasury department.

There has been talk Cuba will be waiving any financial assistance from the tourney.

Other countries competing in the event are Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, USA and Venezuela.

All are members of the IAF and as a result their participation would be tied directly to any IBF decision on the viability of the tournament.

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