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WBC talks to continue in U.S.

by John E. Gibson (Aug 11, 2011)

Officials from Nippon Professional Baseball and representatives of Major League Baseball and its players union said they plan to meet in the United States to continue talks to resolve issues to ensure Japan participates in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Neither side had much to say to the media after a roughly two-hour meeting on Wednesday morning, the second of two straight days of discussions at the NPB commissioner's office in Tokyo.

"The talks were productive--we made a small amount of progress," said Toshimasa Shimada, a top executive of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Japan's players association last month voiced displeasure with the revenue distribution from sponsors and the players have threatened to skip the next WBC if an agreement on a new system for sharing is not reached.

That, however, is just one of the items on the agenda as the sides continue talks.

"There are many issues we have to hash out as we move forward in these talks. At some point soon, I think we will be traveling over there [to the States]" to continue talks, Shimada said.

"We haven't discussed when, but we'll determine that as quickly as possible. The sooner we reach a decision on that, the better."

Shimada wouldn't go into the details of the talks, but said there are numerous issues to iron out.

"We haven't really made any demands as of yet, but this is a negotiation, so this is not really the forum to discuss those details," he said.

MLB officials were just as tightlipped, offering a quick statement before exiting the office.

"It was very similar to yesterday, we had some very productive discussions," said Paul Archey, MLB senior vice president for international business.

"I wish there was a lot more to tell you, but there's not. I think both parties would characterize it as productive and we agreed to continue talking."

Tim Slavin, director of business affairs for the MLB players association, said details of the negotiations are not for public consumption.

"The discussions that occurred in the meeting room will stay in the meeting room," Slavin said.

"An important point to note is that these discussions are ongoing and we intend to continue this dialogue."

When asked if there was a timetable to reach an agreement, Archey shook his head as he said, "No. It's that simple."

Japan won the inaugural WBC title in 2006 and followed that triumph by repeating in 2009.


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