The 2018 ESF General Congress took place in Paris, France, February 9 - 10. Delegates from most of the 33 affiliated national federations meet once a year to review softball activities in Europe, and to plan for the next season. The Congress is held at one place together with Confederation of European Baseball (CEB).
As always, commission meetings were scheduled on Friday.
The ESF budget was discussed at the Financial Committee, Development Committee presented softball projects of the past season.
Competition and Technical meeting consisted of three major parts: Athletes Commission will be established in 2018, World Cups changes and news, and proposals of different playing systems of the Women's European Championships - national federations were asked to send their other comments and proposals to the Technical Committee within the two weeks after the Congress.
Marketing and Media Committee was held as a joint meeting together with CEB. This meeting was organized as a workshop where four speakers presented their ideas on how to move forward in promotion of softball and baseball. Johannes Godler (CEB) talked about media standards which should be set for all official European tournaments, Patrick Mostboeck (Sportradar) introduced an OTT platform - a live-streaming and video platform where baseball and softball will have their own space. A contract between the ESF, the CEB, and Sportradar was signed later that day. Helena Novotna (ESF) shared her ideas about how to increase media presence on a national and local level, while Sam Gilman (EBSM) approached a similar topic covering international media.
All projects and matters of the 2017 season are summed up in the General Progress Report (update 2017).
The major topic of the whole event was the creation of WBSC Europe. To explain and discuss all matter related to this change, presidents Gabriel Waage (ESF) and Didier Seminet (CEB) held a session for all delegates. On Saturday, the first-ever WBSC Europe Congress was held and the WBSC Europe was established. More info here.
The Congress itself (held on Saturday morning) went very smoothly as everything that needed to be discussed had been already discussed at the committee meeting the previous day.
Antonio Micheli, an Italian coach, was inducted into the ESF Hall of Fame. Two special Presidential Awards were given - to Patrice Bienfait, a longtime Secretary General of the ESF, and to Andre van Overbeek a former ESF President. Both Patrice and Andre gave their souls to softball in Europe, and their presence and efforts took us where we are today.
Like every year, Congress is the place where Championships drawings take place. All the Championships round-robin groups are now known and can be reviewed here. You can also check the Championships Draw live-stream on our Facebook Page.
At the occasion of the Congress, Baseball 5 was introduced to European National Federations. Check it out .