International Softball Federation (ISF)
Background of ISF:
The International Softball Federation (ISF) is the governing body for all softball played worldwide. The ISF provides playing rules and coordinates world competition in men’s Slow Pitch and Fastpitch softball, women’s Slow Pitch and Fastpitch softball, and juniors Slow Pitch and Fastpitch softball. Also, the ISF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee to qualify teams for Olympic play.
The first meeting of the ISF occurred in 1952 with the goal of making softball an Olympic sport someday. By 1965 more than 50 countries were playing softball, and the first women’s world championship was played in Melbourne, Australia with the first men’s world fastpitch championship a year later. In 1977 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized softball under IOC rules. Then on June 13, 1991, the IOC added women’s fastpitch as a medal sport for the 1996 Olympic Games. In the ‘96 games, the U.S. defeated China for the first gold medal in front of an estimated attendance of 120,000 people. To this day the U.S.A. women have remained dominant in the sport.
The ISF’s home is now in Plant City, Florida and is the only Olympic sport, summer or winter, to have its headquarters in the United States. The ISF website provides a great deal of information on topics like championships, coaching, rules and standards, and more.