By James Crook

152915137May 21 - Honorary International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Carlos Nuzman has insisted he has not backed the joint baseball-softball bid for inclusion at the 2020 Olympics, despite the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) claiming he had sent a letter of support for their bid to the Brazilian Baseball and Softball Confederation (CBBS).

The statement released yesterday by the WBSC said the letter in question from Nuzman, who is also President of Rio 2016 and the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), read: "You can count on my support to reinstate the sports [starting with] the 2020 Olympic Games Programme."

It goes on to say that support was offered to the bid "in the name of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and [Nuzman's] own", and wished "success to CBBS in the new Olympic cycle".

However, Nuzman released a statement claiming the quotes were a "misunderstanding", and that he continues to support wrestling to be included in the 2020 Olympics.

Speaking to insidethegames, Nuzman reiterated where his allegiances lie, and said that he did not explicitly offer his exclusive support to the baseball-softball bid for reinstatement to the Olympic sports programme.

149859272Carlos Nuzman has said he has always backed wrestling to stay on the Olympics sports programme for 2020 

"About this, I sent a note yesterday, it was a misunderstanding with our national federation, because since the beginning I've supported wrestling," he said.

"It was a misinterpretation.

"I have nothing against baseball, softball or any other sports, but I think we have to keep wrestling in the Games, that's my opinion."

Nuzman exclusively revealed to insidethegames in March that he was supporting wrestling     to retain its place on the Olympic sports programme, and insisted today that this has not changed. 

The WBSC release in question included a joint-statement from International Baseball Federation (IBAF) President Riccardo Fraccari and International Softball Federation (ISF) President Don Porter, who serve as co-Presidents of the confederation, which was officially formed just last month in Tokyo.

"We are proud and honoured to have the support of such a highly respected, knowledgeable and popular sporting leader like Carlos Nuzman in the campaign for Olympic inclusion," they said.

"His support helps us highlight that our 65 million, and growing, athletes are well-dispersed and highly competitive across the globe, and the excellent results in Brazil, as well as in other countries building traditions like Australia, the Netherlands and Italy, unquestionably help us underline our sport's appeal, expansion and universality across strategic bases in the world."

166580132Nuzman's comments are sure to cause embarrassment for WBSC co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter, who released a joint-statement detailing the importance of his backing yesterday

"We are optimistic that the time is right for baseball and softball to be re-introduced to the Olympic Games, and we are excited to get support from sports leaders like Carlos Nuzman, who are passionate and knowledgeable about sport, and Olympic sport in particular.

"We are confident that the inclusion of baseball and softball in the Olympic Games in 2020 would inspire a new generation of interest and participation in sport through baseball and softball, and enhance and expand the Olympic experience for hundreds of millions of baseball and softball fans of all ages and backgrounds in developing and established sporting nations and continents.

"We are honoured to have the opportunity to be considered by the IOC for possible reintegration on the Olympic sports programme, and will continue to work closely with the IOC in the best interests of the athletes and the Olympic Movement to meet the criteria for inclusion in the Olympic Games in 2020."

The statement claiming Nuzman's support for the baseball-softball bid has since been withdrawn from the "PlayBall2020" website, and the WBSC chose not to comment on the conflicting comments from the Brazilian lawyer.

It is currently unclear whether the WBSC will eventually make a formal response to the comments made by Nuzman. 

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March 2013: 
Exclusive: Rio 2016 President backs wrestling to stay on Olympic programme