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Taiwan to host new baseball tournament: WBSC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced on July 2 the launching of the “Premier12” world championship, a new men's National Team baseball event, which will be staged in November 2015 in Taiwan and feature the world's top 12 baseball powerhouses.

Making the announcement at Lausanne, Switzerland, WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said the Premier12 will be held every four years and will become baseball's highest-ranked international competition.

 “The WBSC is thrilled to announce the groundbreaking addition of The Premier12 to WBSC's tournaments-structure,” said President Fraccari.

 “The Premier12 will unite baseball's top nations and give baseball's best players in the world the opportunity — and the highest honor — to play for their countries on a global stage,” he noted.

 The debut championship is scheduled to be staged in November 2015, following the conclusion of many domestic league championships, according to the WBSC.

 The schedule is chosen to give the world's professional players the opportunity of uniting to represent their national teams over 10-12 competition days to avoid schedule conflicts with the world's professional baseball leagues.

 “The Premier12 will take place at a time when Taiwan's climate should provide favorable performance conditions for the players and national teams,” the WBSC said.

 The WBSC said it will announce the 12 qualified national teams in November this year, after the final 2014 World Rankings have been calculated.

 Currently, the U.S., Japan and Cuba are the top three nations in the world baseball ranking.

World No. 4 Taiwan

 Taiwan, playing under the name of Chinese Taipei, ranked No. 4 on the list, followed by Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Italy and Mexico, according to WBSC.

 The WBSC said the new baseball event will be awarded baseball's largest prize of World Ranking bonus points.

 The WBSC will guarantee prize money — a multimillion U.S. dollar cash total — among all National Teams/National Federations participating in The Premier12 and will also cover their air travel and accommodation expenses, with the players being treated to premium services and facilities.

 Taiwan's Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA, 中華棒協) Secretary-General Richard Lin (林宗成) previously told local media that Taiwan has been working closely with international baseball organizations to host international baseball tournaments since 1999.

 Taiwan also successfully hosted the 2013 World Baseball Classic in March, he noted.

 The CTBA head expressed confidence in being a perfect host for the games next year.

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