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Report: 2021 World Baseball Classic canceled

The WBC will not take place in 2021, per ESPN. Their sources think it might not return until 2023 at the earliest.

General view inside the field in Kino Sport Complex after MLB 2021 World Baseball Classic Qualifier due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 12, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Photo by Carol Coelho/Getty Images

The 2021 World Baseball Classic has been canceled, according to ESPN senior writer Enrique Rojas. Organizers do not expect the tournament to return until at least 2023.

The event was scheduled to take place March 9th through 23rd in the United States, Japan, and Taiwan. The delay to the start of the Major League Baseball season coupled with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to summer 2021 led to the decision to cancel the event, according to Rojas. The Japanese professional league (NPB) had to push its season earlier due to the Olympics, and did not think it could take part in a Classic scheduled for next March.

The tournament had planned two pre-classical tournaments this past March in Tucson, Arizona, featuring Germany, Brazil, France, Nicaragua, Pakistan, South Africa, the Philippines, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, and the Czech Republic. Those were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Any rescheduling of the event has to be negotiated with the MLB players’ union because it is part of the collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is set to expire in December 2021, leaving the Classic up in the air for the time being.