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WBC won’t negotiate with Japan

Kyodo

Representatives of Nippon Professional Baseball met with World Baseball Classic organizers on Monday in hopes of renegotiating Japan’s share of tournament revenues, but WBC Inc. showed no willingness to change current arrangements.

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters executive Toshimasa Shimada, who chairs NPB’s committee on international relations, led the Japanese delegation in its attempt to end a stalemate threatening to sideline Japan from the competition next spring. But MLB Asia Vice President Jim Small said the organizers have no intention of making changes in the participation terms and conditions.

Noting that the dispute is a matter between NPB and its players association, Small said he hopes that they can find a solution and that Japan will participate in the tournament.

NPB last year agreed to take part in the tournament, which Japan won in 2006 and 2009, but the Nippon Professional Baseball Players Association resolved on July 20 not to participate unless fundamental changes are made to the way tournament revenues are shared.

Specifically, players are demanding that NPB control the rights to licensing and sponsorship income generated by the Japan team. World Baseball Classic representatives appear unlikely to consider such an arrangement.