International Softball Federation
Softball Canada has been a member of the International Softball Federation for over 30 years. As of 2009, there are over 130 countries affiliated with the International Softball Federation. The International Softball Federation (ISF) is the governing body of softball internationally as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations - GAISF).
The ISF organizes and conducts world championship competition in women's and men's fast pitch, junior women's and men's fast pitch, women's, men's and coed slow pitch and women's and men's modified pitch. The ISF sanctions regional championships and provides technical support to Regional (Multi-Sport) Games. The ISF provides the official playing rules for international competition including but not limited to; world championships, regional championships, regional Games and other sanctioned competitions.
The ISF affiliates national associations/federations as members of the ISF and conducts a biennial Congress for its affiliates. The ISF is non-profit corporation incorporated in the United States of America.
The International Softball Federation had successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to have softball designated a medal sport. Through his dedication and belief in our sport, ISF President, Don Porter’s dream finally became reality in 1996 when Softball had its spectacular Olympic debut in Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. This event drew more than 120,000 fans, and was followed by the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Unfortunately, the sport of softball was officially removed from the Olympic programme in 2009.Softball is indeed an ideal Olympic sport encompassing the Olympic requisites of athletic agility, strength and speed. It is a sport that is played competitively in more than 130 countries with regional/continental, national and world championship events of competition. It is now played on every continent. Softball is also on the program of other major competitions such as the Pan American Games, the Asian Games, the South Pacific Games, the Southeast Asian Games and the Central American Games.
Softball incorporates many virtues promoted by the International Olympic Committee. To name a few, softball is played by both males and females, equipment costs are minimal and the playing facilities can be easily adapted from existing fields.
Since 1965, the International Softball Federation has conducted World Championships in four-year cycles for men, women, junior boys and junior girls. Beginning in 2012, all four categories will have World Championships every two years, with Women and Junior Men categories held in even years, and Men and Junior Women categories held in uneven years.
Some relevant statistics are:
- 15 million athletes in 1970
- 28 million athletes in 1980
- 37.5 million athletes in 1993
- Over 46 million athletes participate in our sport today