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NPB executives to discuss WBC strategy

Kyodo

Executives from Nippon Professional Baseball’s 12 teams will meet on Aug. 20 to discuss strategy regarding how to persuade NPB’s players union to participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, it was learned Wednesday.

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters executive Toshimasa Shimada, who chairs NPB’s committee on international relations, returned from New York on Wednesday, two days after meeting with tournament organizers in an effort to gain concessions that will bring Japan’s reluctant players on board.

NPB agreed last year to join the 2013 competition, won by Japan both times it has been held in 2006 and 2009. The players union, however, voted on July 20 not to participate unless its demands that NPB is given the rights to the sponsorship and licensing revenues its participation generates are met. Currently, sponsorship and licensing revenues are pooled and divided among participating nations by the tournament’s organizing body, WBC Inc.

Tournament organizers, however, rejected Japan’s latest demands, saying the issue needs to be resolved between NPB and the union.

“There is no change to the current severe conditions,” Shimada said.

Toru Matsubara, secretary general of the Nippon Professional Baseball Players Association, said Tuesday he expected to learn the details of the talks after Shimada’s return.

“I’ll want to think about the union’s response, once we hear the way things are,” he said.