World Cup ’09 Set For Europe

The International Baseball Federation has set the dates and sites for the 2009 World Cup, which will be held across Europe in September 2009.

The 22-team event, originally scheduled for Cuba but moved to Europe to try to help kick-start the sport’s growth there, will have five preliminary groups from Sept. 9-27. The groups will be in Prague, Czech Republic; Barcelona, Spain; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; and Regensburg, Germany. The United States will be in Group E in Regensburg, where the event was announced in a Friday press conference.

The groups will contain four teams apiece (20 teams), and the other two teams—second-round hosts Italy and Netherlands—will receive byes to the next round. 

“Here in Europe,” IBAF secretary general John Ostermeyer said. “Baseball is considered an American sport that is played also somewhere. With this effort we are trying to make it also here an international sport that is played in America."
All eight 2008 Olympic teams have qualified for the Cup, and the Americas will have a tournament that begins in two weeks in Venezuela where five more teams will qualify.