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Debut games of new baseball tourny may be held in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan is still contemplating whether or not it will host the preliminary round of games for a new baseball tournament to be held next year, the nation's baseball association said yesterday.

Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA, 中華棒協) Secretary-general Richard Lin (林宗成) told local media yesterday that Japan has expressed interest in being the host country for the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Premier 12, a senior tournament involving the best 12 teams in the world, in 2015.

Both the IBAF and Japanese baseball authorities are inclined to let Taiwan host one of the preliminary matches for the new baseball tournament, Lin said.

However, there is still little information available about the new Premier 12 baseball format, or which 12 teams will be entitled to join the event, Lin said.

The IBAF originally hoped the top 12 finishers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) would be automatically qualified to join the 2015 games.

But the Japanese side hopes that the 12 teams will be the top 12 in the IBAF annual baseball rankings, according to Lin.

The date for the event is also yet to be decided, even though Japan hopes it can be staged in March 2015.

Therefore the CTBA is still evaluating the feasibility of hosting the games for the new baseball format, Lin noted.

The IBAF is expected to disclose more details about the baseball event following the Confederation of European Baseball and the European Softball Federation Congress to be held in Prague, Czech Republic next month, Lin said.

According to the CTBA, the IBAF Premier 12 is to be launched to replace the Baseball World Cup, a tournament in which national baseball teams from around the world compete. The Premier 12 will happen every four years.

Meanwhile, Lin said yesterday that Taiwan will be hosting the debut 21 and Under World Cup in November 2014. The new baseball tourney is expected to feature the top 21-and-under baseball talents from around the world.

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