The heads of the Int'l Baseball Federation and the Int'l Softball Federation said Sunday that they have merged to form the World Baseball Softball Confederation "in a bid to win back their spot on the Olympic program," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The WBSC "will campaign for a return to the Olympic program at the 2020 Games as a single sport." The IOC "will pick one sport to be included in the 2020 program at its meeting in September." IBAF President and co-President of the WBSC Riccardo Fraccari said, "This is an historic day. We have brought a new level of worldwide unity and determination to our quest to return to the Games." By joining into one global confederation they are now bidding as one unified sport rather than two, "hoping to increase their chances of a return." Olympic inclusion guarantees a sport millions of euros in funding from the IOC, sponsors and broadcasters, "while being cut from the program severely limits a sport's global appeal and reach" (REUTERS, 4/14).
India Sports Secretary P. K. Deb said on Saturday that India's government "wants an agreement with the Indian Olympic Association and National Sports Federations on the contentious Sports Code" before having a joint meeting with the IOC next month (PTI, 4/13). ... Egyptian Minister of Sport El Amry Farouk said Thursday that "they would give full support to Turkey's 2020 Olympics bid." Farouk told his Turkish counterpart Suat Kilic that Egypt "would provide full support to Turkey's candidacy to host the 2020 Summer Olympics." Egypt "will also join the Mediterranean Games in Turkey this summer" (XINHUA, 4/12). ... Government infrastructure company Rosavtodor Head Roman Starovoyt, said Friday that road-building for the '14 Winter Olympics in Sochi "is three-quarters complete with less than a year to go until the opening ceremony." Nearly $4.9B is being spent on "expanding and modernizing Sochi's road network" (R-SPORT, 4/12).