TOKYO (AP) — Baseball and softball still have a chance of being included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.
"This will be under discussion," Bach said at a news conference. "We will have the first broad discussion in December in a meeting of the executive board of the IOC, then the executive board will present its first discussion paper to the IOC session in Sochi."
Baseball and softball were dropped from the 2012 program after a 2005 vote by the IOC. The two sports merged into a single federation in a bid for inclusion in Tokyo, but lost out to wrestling in an IOC vote in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Squash also had sought a spot in the 2020 program.
Tokyo's winning bid for the 2020 Olympics has prompted calls in Japan for baseball and softball to be included when the Japanese capital hosts the games.
While the Olympic Charter states that a sport's inclusion in the program must be decided not later than the session electing the host city, Bach stressed the need to be flexible.
"I am open for more flexibility in the Olympic program," said Bach, who was elected president in September to succeed Jacques Rogge. "But first we have to see what the rest of my colleagues in the IOC think."
Baseball and softball are very popular in Japan and there are many existing facilities in the Tokyo area that could be used if the sports were included.