The Australian Baseball Federation held a joint press conference with the Federal Government and Major League Baseball International this afternoon at Palm Meadows Baseball Complex on the Gold Coast to acknowledge their collaboration on a plan for a new national league.
Over the past decade, the Australian Baseball Federation has worked closely with Major League Baseball International and the Australian Federal Government; through the offices of the Australian Sports Commission; to produce world class Development and High Performance baseball programs. The jewel of these efforts is the Major League Baseball Australian Academy Program (MLBAAP).
It was this very Program that set the backdrop for today's conference, which was paneled by the Federal Minister for Sport – The Honourable Ms. Kate Ellis MP; Major League Baseball's Senior VP of International Operations - Mr. Paul Archey; Gold Coast City Council Mayor – His worship the Mayor Mr. Ron Clarke; and President of the Australian Baseball Federation - Mr. Geoff Pearce.
The collaboration will be chaired by Mark Peters, former CEO of the Australian Sports Commission; who will work with Major League Baseball International and the Australian Baseball Federation to lead the process of development and rollout of the new National League initiative.
"I am excited about what lies ahead", said Peters.
The question on everyone's lips is 'where the teams will be based'.
"This decision that will rely heavily on the facilities that are available", Peters said.
Head of MLB International Paul Archey, in town from New York, demonstrated a genuine commitment on behalf of the International powerhouse toward the development of baseball in this country as a whole.
"I cannot tell you when this will happen or where, but I can tell you that Major League Baseball is committed to this initiative and look forward to working with the Federal Government and the Australian Baseball Federation to further develop the game of baseball in Australia through planning a new national league", he said.
The Federal Minister for Sport, the Honourable Kate Ellis showed her support for the initiative by announcing funding of $400,000 to help support the plans and looks forward to continuing the Government's relationship with MLB and ABF in what are proving to be exciting times for the sport.
"Australian baseball has done a great job in securing this significant partnership with Major League Baseball – developing up and coming athletes and strengthening the game in Australia" Ms Ellis said.
"This funding will help baseball to develop the next generation of Australian baseball stars" said Ms Ellis.
President of the Australian Baseball Federation, Mr. Geoff Pearce, acknowledged the excitement this brings to the sport, but understands there is a long way to go.
"There is a great deal of work required to build this initiative, but through the acknowledged support of the Federal Government and Major League Baseball International, there is certainly great strength in this collaborative foundation.
The ABF and MLBI are delighted with the continued support of the Federal Government, and particularly the new funding announced today by the Federal Minister for Sport, the Hon Kate Ellis MP, for this important initiative.
Further information on this collaborative initiative will be released at a later date.