The European Softball Federation (ESF) is a non-profit sports organization that connects and represents all European National Softball Federations on a European-wide level. The ESF itself is a member of the WBSC Softball Division (International Softball Federation)
The European Softball Federation was established in Rome, Italy in 1976 by the representatives of six European National Baseball and Softball Federations (Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain), with the objectives of promoting and developing softball in Europe. More from the ESF history, including past competitions results is available here.
Today, there are 33 affiliated National Federations: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.
The ESF is recognized as the regional governing body for fastpitch and slowpitch softball for the whole of Europe in all age and gender categories. The two main interests of the ESF are competitions and development.
The ESF organizes two types of official softball competitions: European Championships, where national teams compete for the title of European Champion in different gender and age categories; and European Cups, where the best clubs from each country send their national champion (or another club team) to fight for the title of the best European softball club in different gender, grades and age categories.
The ESF organizes European Championships and Cups in cooperation with European clubs and National Federations. European Fastpitch Championships for Women, Men, Junior (U-19) Women and Junior (U-19) Men are held every two years in between the years when World Championships for these groups are scheduled. European Fastpitch Championships for U-22 Women ansd Cadette (U-16) Girls are also held every two years, as is a European Championship for Co-ed Slowpitch National Teams.
A wide range of Cup tournaments tend to be held on an annual basis.
These competitions could not be run without the work of ESF technicial committees, umpires, scorers, officials and other volunteers, who take care of the many different organisational and technical aspects that are needed. The ESF is also concerned to ensure that all of its competitions are carried out according to rules and in the best interests of players and coaches, under the overall control of the ESF Technicial and Competitions Committee.
The job of the ESF Development Commission is to communicate with National Federations inside and outside Europe and to encourage the spread and growth of softball through supporting clubs, Federations, coaches, projects and ideas.
With help from the top world softball countries, the ESF brings clinics, coaches and also equipment to wherever in Europe it might be needed.
Although fastpitch softball remains the dominant format in Europe and worldwide, the ESF Development Commission also focuses on slowpitch as an easier and more approachable version of softball and, for children, on the simplest version on softball, called Beeball, where no gloves are needed.
Other commissions that carry out ESF responsibilities are the Marketing Commission, the very important Financial Commission and the newly-established Coaches Commission.
Currently, the top ESF officials are:
First Vice President
Eddy Van Straelen
The full Executive Board consists of five more members.
For more information about the European Softball Federation contact:
Helena Novotna, ESF Communications Director at hnovotna(at)europeansoftball.org
Ami Baran, ESF Secretary General at sg(at)europeansoftball.org