UK NATIONAL SOFTBALL LEAGUE CONFIRMS SPORT’S CONTINUING GROWTH IN EUROPE
ISF President: “Reaching out to young people is at the heart of the BackSoftball campaign”
Plant City, Florida (USA); 6th April 2009: Softball’s universality has been furthered by the confirmation of a new National Softball League in the UK, which will encourage more young people to take up the sport.
The new 15-team competition, which has secured major sponsorship from Covee, the European softball equipment supplier, will be played over three tournaments starting in June, including the Windsor Tournament, the largest of its kind in Europe with 52 teams in a range of different formats.
All 15 teams will also compete in the Premier Nationals tournament being held in Reading this summer with the winners going on to represent the UK in the European Championships next year.
Organizer Roger Grooms said, “A lot of sports have been affected by the recession recently and the enthusiasm to get this competition going underlines how popular softball is in the UK.
“Manchester, East Midlands, and Solent are putting in league composite teams as they see this as an excellent opportunity to develop younger players onto the adult scene and we have even allowed an Irish team, Munster, to take part, because they are keen to pit their wits against the best the UK has to offer. Softball has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and the support we have had to organize the National Softball League (www.nationalsoftballleague.co.uk) has been fantastic.”
International Softball Federation President Don Porter said, “Softball is continuing to become more and more professional and I am delighted that the UK softball scene is thriving so much.
“I understand that the organizers are planning to use the competition to get more involved in the community. Reaching out to young people and women in particular is something that is at the heart of the BackSoftball campaign for Olympic reinstatement.”
Softball was first featured in the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 and last year’s competition in Beijing was very successful with a total attendance close to 180,000 and a continuation of the sport’s excellent record of no positive doping tests in women’s international softball since testing began in 1982.
A final decision on which sports will be added to the current roster of 26 at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be made at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen in October this year.