Francophone baseball body to boost Olympic bid

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - Baseball and softball are hoping a little French flavor will boost their international appeal and chances for a return to the Olympics.

The Francophone Association of Baseball Softball has been launched in Paris to promote the sports in French-speaking countries.

The association was formed by national federations in 14 countries in Europe and Africa, including Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, France, Switzerland and Tunisia.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation says the new body will work to develop the sports across 77 French-speaking countries and provinces, especially in Africa. It will be led by Didier Seminet, head of the French federation.

WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari says the new body should help the global campaign to bring baseball and softball back into the Olympics. The IOC has said it will consider adding the sports to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

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