Full rule explanation » (.pdf)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) announced today that it is introducing an extra-inning tie-breaker format that will be tested at a youth event this week and implemented officially in the baseball competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The format is a first in international baseball competition and differs significantly from the currently used extra-inning model. The new rule calls for traditional baseball extra-inning rules to be used in the 10th frame, but all contests that are tied after 10 innings will compete under a new format. Beginning with the 11th inning and each inning needed thereafter, base runners will be placed on first and second base with no outs. All other rules of baseball will remain in effect.

The new rules will be taken into effect for all tournaments under the IBAF competition umbrella moving forward, which includes the IBAF Men's and Women's Baseball World Cup which are scheduled for September 9-27, 2009 in Europe and August 24-29, 2008 in Matsuyama, Japan, respectively.

"The upcoming Beijing Olympic competition may be our last unless we are successful in adding the sport back to the Olympic program for the 2016 Games," said IBAF President Dr. Harvey W. Schiller. "We must demonstrate to the International Olympic Committee not only does our game belong alongside the other great sports of the world, but our sport is manageable from a television and operational standpoint."

Dr. Schiller continued, saying the change is both a positive and necessary step for the sport of baseball. "One of the unique aspects of our game is that it has no time limit. Extra-inning contests can bring about the most exciting results for players and fans, but such circumstances also make it difficult in the context of the Olympic program. Delays cause scheduling and logistical nightmares. Planned security, transportation, drug testing, broadcasts, and entertainment are just a few of the activities that may be seriously affected," Dr. Schiller continued.

Many former and current professional players and administrators from baseball federations around the world provided guidance on the rule change. The new tie-breaker will be tested beginning today at the IBAF "AAA" World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada, which is the premiere international tournament for players 18-and-under.

The new extra-inning format will allow for each manager to select two consecutive batters from anywhere in their respective lineup to start the 11th on first and second base. The next batter in the lineup would then be the batter that starts the inning at the plate. Once those players/runners are determined for the 11th inning, the order of any subsequent innings will be determined by how the previous inning ended. That is, if the 11th inning ends with the No. 6 hitter having the last official at bat, then the 12th inning begins the No. 7 hitter at bat, and the No. 5 hitter at 2B and the No. 6 hitter at first base.

"Given these extraordinary times for baseball, I believe this will be an exciting shift for the sport," Dr. Schiller said.

Please see the accompanying file for full details on the new extra-inning format.