The following definitions shall apply to the following terms as they are used in these Rules.
The term "WBCI" shall refer to World Baseball Classic, Inc. and such designees, including its Technical Committee and the members thereof, as WBCI may delegate its duties to such designees from time to time.
The term "Federation Team" shall refer to a national or territorial team participating in the qualifying round in order to advance to the World Baseball Classic Tournament.
The term "Qualifying Round" shall refer to the games of the two qualifying pools (each pool, a "Qualifier"), as scheduled by WBCI, played in order to determine the Federation Teams that will advance to the 2021 World Baseball Classic Tournament.
The term "MLB" shall refer to Major League Baseball, which comprises the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and its 30 member Clubs.
The term "MLBPA" shall refer to the Major League Baseball Players Association, the collective bargaining representative of Major League Players.
The term "Major League Player" shall refer to a player (a) who was on the 40-man roster of a Major League Club on the last day his Club participated in the Championship Season prior to the applicable round of the event, or (b) who was subsequently added to a 40-man roster prior to the submission of final rosters for the applicable round of the event, or (c) whom the MLB and MLBPA mutually agree is a Major League Player.
The term "Affiliated Player" refers to any player under reserve to a Major or Minor League Club.
The term "Minor League Player" refers to any Affiliated Player who is not a Major League Player, as defined above.
The term "WBSC" shall refer to the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
The term "GOTC" shall refer to the Game Operations Technical Committee. The committee shall administer the event rules and regulations for each applicable game at the direction of WBCI. The committee is comprised of one MLB representative, one MLBPA representative, and one WBSC representative.
Each Qualifier shall begin once the lineups are exchanged at home plate prior to game one.
Prospective Player List
The Prospective Player List represents the collective list of players who may be eligible to participate for a Federation Team. Verification will be determined subsequent to the player being identified on the yet to be submitted Federation Interest List.
Federation Team Interest List
On or before three months prior to the commencement of each respective Qualifier, each Federation Team shall submit an Interest List of no more than 50 players who will be given serious consideration for selection to a Federation Team's Provisional Roster. In its proposed Interest List submission, a Federation Team shall indicate the position(s) of each player, the organization (if the player is under reserve to an MLB Club), Club for which each player currently plays, eligibility criteria and any other information that WBCI may request. Players under contract to MLB Clubs who also play in an MLB-sanctioned Off-Season League should be listed with their respective MLB Clubs, rather than with their respective MLB-sanctioned Off-Season League Clubs. Each proposed Federation Interest List shall be subject to the approval of WBCI, which may require adjustments and revisions, if for example the player is not deemed eligible to participate. On its Interest List a Federation Team shall also include one manager, at least five coaches and a minimum of one certified athletic trainer.
In the event that a player is not permitted to be placed on an Available Player List because of a "Chronic Condition," such player shall be removed from the Federation's Team's Interest List and WBCI may permit such Federation's Team to name a replacement to its Interest List, by such dates and under such conditions as WBCI may require in each instance.
Available Player List
Upon receipt of the Federation Interest List, WBCI will continually provide updates to each Federation Team to acknowledge the Available Player List. The Available Player List will identify to the Federation Team the players on the Federation Interest List who have been deemed eligible and available for selection on the to-be submitted Provisional Roster.
Each Federation Team shall submit a Provisional Roster of no more than 50 players on or before two months prior to the commencement of each respective Qualifier. Each player listed on a Federation Team's Provisional Roster will be given serious consideration for selection to the respective Federation Team's Final Roster.
Each Federation Team's approved Provisional Roster shall include: (i) at least 17 pitchers, and (ii) at least three catchers. Each player on the Provisional Roster must have been on that Federation Team's Available Player List. On its Provisional Roster, a Federation Team shall also include one manager, at least five uniformed coaches and a minimum of one certified athletic trainer if the roster contains fewer than 14 Affiliated Players, and a minimum of two certified athletic trainers if the roster contains 14 or more Affiliated Players. The managers, coaches and trainers do not count against the 50-player Provisional Roster limit.
Each player on a Provisional Roster shall on the relevant submission date above, have signed and filed with WBCI a Player Participation Agreement ("PPA") in a form approved by WBCI, unless WBCI grants an exception in regard to a player who has indicated his willingness to participate in the Qualifying Round but has not yet returned a PPA to WBCI.
In the event that a player is not permitted to be placed on a Final Roster because of a "Chronic Condition", such player shall be removed from the Federation's Team's Provisional Roster and WBCI may permit such Federation's Team to name a replacement to its Provisional Roster, by such dates and under such conditions as WBCI may require in each instance.
Each Federation Team shall submit a Final Roster of no more than 28 players on or before two weeks prior to the start date of each respective Qualifier. Each Federation Team's approved Final Roster shall include at least 14 pitchers, with prior playing experience as a pitcher, and at least two catchers, each of whom must have been on that Federation Team's Available Player List. A non-affiliated pitcher must include an attachment to describe the player's prior experience as a pitcher.
The Final Roster of a Federation Team shall also include one manager, at least five uniformed coaches, and a minimum of one certified athletic trainer if the roster contains fewer than 14 Affiliated Players, and a minimum of two certified athletic trainers if the roster contains 14 or more Affiliated Players. The managers, coaches and trainers do not count against the 28-player limit. The parties may also agree on a case-by-case basis to allow or require a Federation Team to include a Major League strength coach, in which case the strength coach also would not count against the limit. In the event the Federation Team has fewer than three catchers on its Final Roster, as part of its delegation the Federation Team shall also include a bullpen catcher with prior playing experience as a catcher, whose name appears on the Available Player List, to accompany the Federation Team. The designated bullpen catcher will be available as an eligible substitution in the event an injury occurs to a catcher resulting in the Federation Team having fewer than two catchers available. Such bullpen catcher should be listed separately on the Final Roster submission with an attachment to describe the player's prior experience as a catcher.
Each player placed on a Final Roster shall be subject to out-of-competition testing under the Anti Doping Agreement, as directed by WBCI or a testing authority designated by WBCI. If extraordinary circumstances exist, a Federation Team may name to its Final Roster a player who had not appeared on its approved Interest List so long as such Federation Team has first received written permission of WBCI. WBCI shall confirm its approval of a proposed Final Roster as soon as practicable. Adjustments to a proposed Final Roster may be made by a FederationTeam in consultation with WBCI if WBCI determines that other restrictions necessitate adjustment to a proposed Final Roster. (See, e.g., Player Restrictions per MLB Club, described below.)
Each manager or coach shall, on the relevant submission date above have signed and filed with WBCI a Non-Player Participation Agreement ("NPPA") in a form approved by WBCI.
WBCI shall have the sole right to approve the players, manager, coaches, instructors, certified athletic trainers and strength and conditioning coach for each Federation Team. No player, manager or coach may appear on an approved Final Roster unless such person's participation in the Qualifying Round has been approved by WBCI.
No player, manager or coach shall participate for a Federation Team in any World Baseball Classic Qualifying Round game unless such player, manager or coach is on such Federation Team's approved Final Roster and has signed and submitted to WBCI a PPA, in the case of a player, or a NPPA, in the case of a manager or coach.
A player, manager or coach may be replaced on a Final Roster for the following reasons:
- Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency Leave
- Paternity List Placement
- Failure to report
- Player Restrictions per MLB Club as set forth below
- Dismissal from the Qualifying Round for violation of anti-doping policies, as shown below
- If, in the sole and exclusive judgment of WBCI, other restrictions necessitate an adjustment to a Final Roster.
If between the Final Roster due dates and the start of the Qualifier an injury occurs that prevents a player from participating, notice must be given immediately to the GOTC or WBCI, as the timing may warrant, with the name of the player and his replacement from the Available Player List.
Each player on a Federation Team's approved Provisional Roster must be eligible to participate for that Federation Team. A player will be so eligible only if:
- The player previously appeared on a Federation team's final roster at the start of either a WBC Qualifier or Tournament Round; or
- The player is a citizen of the Federation Team's country or territory, as evidenced by a valid passport the player holds as of three months prior to the start of the Qualifying Round; or
- The player is currently a permanent legal resident of the Federation Team's country or territory, as evidenced by documentation satisfactory to WBCI and the WBSC, or
- The player was born in the Federation Team's country or territory, as evidenced by a birth certificate or its equivalent; or
- The player has at least one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the Federation Team's country or territory, as evidenced by a passport or other documentation satisfactory to WBCI and the WBSC; or
- The player has at least one parent who was born in the Federation Team's country or territory, as evidenced by a birth certificate or its equivalent; or
- The player presents documentary evidence satisfactory to WBCI that he would be granted citizenship or a passport in due course under the laws of the Federation Team's country or territory (excluding any requirement of the Federation Team's country that the player would need to renounce his current citizenship), if he were to apply for such citizenship or passport.
Each Federation Team shall submit to WBCI on or before the time it submits its Provisional Roster the evidence supporting the eligibility of each of the players on its Interest List Roster, unless WBCI grants an extension in regard to a player. If such an extension is granted, evidence supporting the eligibility of such player shall be submitted to WBCI as soon as practicable but in no event later than a date to be set by WBCI with respect to such player.
All disputes relating to determination of eligibility shall be resolved exclusively by WBCI.
A player who is eligible to play for two or more Federation Teams at the same time is eligible to represent either one of them, as he may elect. However, a player may not participate on a different Federation Team in the 2021 Tournament from the Federation Team the player participated on during any 2020 Qualifier games.
If a player on a Federation Team's approved Provisional Roster or approved Final Roster is subsequently determined, in the sole discretion of WBCI, not to have been eligible to participate for that Federation Team, the player shall be removed from the Final Roster and shall not be eligible to play in the remainder of the Qualifying Round. Such ineligible player may not be replaced on the Federation Team's Final Roster. WBCI may, in its discretion, impose sanctions upon any Federation Team that WBCI determines has used one or more ineligible players.
All Qualifying Round games shall be played according to the provisions of the Official Baseball Rules as Recodified, Amended and Adopted at New York City, December 21, 1949, and thereafter amended by the Playing Rules Committee, as supplemented by these Rules. The role of the "League President" in the Official Baseball Rules, with respect to the Qualifying Round, shall be performed by the designees of WBCI.
Mound Visits. Official Baseball Rule 5.10(m) in regard to limitations on the number of mound visits per game, is not adopted for Qualifying Round games.
Designated Hitter. Official Baseball Rule 5.11 in regard to the use of the designated hitter, is adopted for Qualifying Round games.
Pitcher Use Limitations. The Official Baseball Rules shall be supplemented for Qualifying Round games played by a Federation Team, as follows:
A pitcher must:
- Not pitch until a minimum of four days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched;
- Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched;
- Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched;
The aggregate number of pitches thrown in two successive games over two days is not used to determine pitcher rest restrictions.
- Throw no more than
- 85 pitches per game in the Qualifying Round unless the pitcher needs more to complete a batter's plate appearance
- Throw no more than
- 49 pitches per exhibition game for a Federation Team, or the maximum number of pitches that WBCI sets forth for such pitcher for such exhibition game, whichever is less, if the pitcher is under reserve to an MLB Club. WBCI may set forth such a maximum upon the written request of the pitcher's MLB Club.
For the purpose of pitch count limitations, pitches thrown or signaled for the purpose of effectuating an intentional walk shall not count against the overall pitch limits. A batter may be intentionally walked following a signal from the defensive team's manager to the umpire. If a pitcher reaches the maximum limit of pitches in a game during a batter's plate appearance, the pitcher may continue in the game until such plate appearance or the inning ends (e.g., by a third out made by catching a runner stealing), whichever comes first.
For purposes of the Rules described in the first three bullet points set forth above, days on which a pitcher pitches shall not count toward the rest periods mandated and described. By way of example, a pitcher who throws 50 or more pitches on March 17 shall not be eligible to pitch again until March 22, a pitcher who throws between 30 and 49 pitches on March 17 shall not be eligible to pitch again until March 19 and a pitcher who pitches on March 17 and March 18 shall not be eligible to pitch again until March 20. For purposes of applying these Rules, a game that extends past midnight shall be deemed to be the same "day" as the day the game began, but a suspended game resumed the next day shall be considered to be a new "day."
All of the foregoing pitching restrictions shall also apply in any exhibition game a Federation Team may play to any player who is an affiliated MLB Player.
No position player (i.e., a player other than a pitcher) who is an Affiliated Player shall be permitted to pitch for a Federation Team in (1) an exhibition game, under any circumstances, or (2) a Qualifying Round game, unless the GOTC has first given such Federation Team permission to do so in such Qualifying Round game. Other than the foregoing, there shall be no restrictions on the use of position players.
The GOTC shall supervise the recording of the number of pitches thrown by each pitcher in a Qualifying Round or exhibition game. There shall be a display or displays visible to both dugouts of the pitch count of the current pitcher. The GOTC shall verify the accuracy of the pitch count displayed at the beginning of each inning. If a pitcher is within 20 pitches of a prescribed limit at the beginning of an inning, the GOTC shall so inform an umpire, who shall cause both managers to be so informed. The GOTC shall immediately notify the home plate umpire when a pitcher has reached a limit set forth in the Rule (which includes finishing a batter's plate appearance, if necessary), whereupon the home plate umpire shall inform the pitcher's manager to remove the pitcher from the game immediately. WBCI shall ensure that appropriate communication links are established for the GOTC to communicate with the Official Scorer and ballpark public address announcer.
If at the beginning of a game there are pitchers who need rest under these Rules and are not eligible to pitch in the game, the GOTC shall so inform the umpires and such ineligibility shall be noted on the lineup card for that game. Overuse of a pitcher in a game, in violation of these Rules, or use of an ineligible pitcher in a Qualifying Round game who should be resting, pursuant to these Rules, shall constitute grounds for a forfeit of that game and shall constitute grounds for sanctions against such Federation Team by WBCI, which may include, without limitation, a declaration of a player's or players' ineligibility to participate for some or all remaining Qualifying Round games.
For purposes of applying the pitcher use limitations in the event a Federation Team plays twice on a single day (because a prior game was either postponed or suspended), the following rules apply:
- The per-game pitch maximums (but not mandatory rest) shall be deemed to be "re-set" for the resumption of the suspended game. (For example, a pitcher who has thrown 25 pitches when a Qualifying Round game is suspended may remain in the game and is not required to be removed after 60 pitches the next day, even though his pitch count for that game (over two days) has reached 85 pitches.);
- A pitcher who is a Federation Team's pitcher at the time a game is suspended and then becomes subject to a mandatory rest day at the time the suspended game is resumed shall be removed from the game at the time the game is resumed. (For example, a pitcher who is in the game at the time the game is suspended and who has thrown 30 pitches in that game may not pitch in the resumption of the suspended game the next day.); A pitcher who must rest for a day must rest for all games on that day (i.e., rest during a postponed or resumed suspended game shall not be deemed to satisfy a mandatory rest day if there is a subsequent game on the same day). (For example, a pitcher who is in the game at the time the game is suspended and who has thrown 30 pitches in that game may not pitch in either the resumption of the suspended game or any subsequent game that day.); and
- A pitcher who appears in the resumption of the suspended or postponed game may not pitch in any subsequent game that day. (For example, a pitcher who is in the game at the time the game is resumed may not pitch in the subsequent regularly scheduled game that same day.)
- A pitcher who did not appear in the resumption of the suspended or postponed game may pitch in any subsequent game that day if the pitcher meets the pitcher use limitations.
Early Termination for Large Leads. The umpire-in-chief shall call a regulation game in the Qualifying Round and award the victory to the Federation Team that is ahead whenever:
- such Federation Team is ahead by 10 or more runs after any complete inning, beginning with the completion of the seventh inning (For example, if the home team is ahead by the difference, after the visiting Club bats in the seventh inning or later, it is not necessary for the home team to bat); or
- such Federation Team is ahead by 15 or more runs after any complete inning, beginning with the completion of the fifth inning (For example, if the home team is ahead by the difference, after the visiting Club bats in the fifth inning or later, it is not necessary for the home team to bat).
For purposes of this rule, if the home Federation Team reaches the 10-run differential in the seventh inning or later, or reaches the 15-run differential in the fifth inning or later, as the case may be, the game shall end immediately when the run accounting for the necessary run differential is scored, unless the last batter hits a home run out of the playing field, in which case the batter-runner and all runners on base are permitted to score, in accordance with the base-running rules, and the game ends when the batter-runner touches home plate. If the batter hits a home run out of the playing field to win the game under this rule, but is called out for passing a preceding runner, the game ends immediately when the winning run is scored.
Maximum Number of Innings to be Played in Exhibition Games. Any exhibition game played by a Federation Team, which requires approval well in advance by WBCI, shall be a completed, tied game if the score is tied after 10 innings.
Extra Innings. For any inning beginning with the 10th inning, the Federation Team at bat shall begin the inning with runners on first and second base. The batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead off the inning in the absence of this extra-innings rule. The runner on first base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the batter who leads off the inning. The runner on second base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the runner on first base. By way of example, if the #5 hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the 11th inning, the #3 player in the batting order (or a pinch-runner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base and the #4 player in the batting order (or a pinch-runner for such player) shall begin the inning on first base. Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game, as is the case in all circumstances under the Official Baseball Rules. For purposes of calculating earned runs under the Official Baseball Rule 9.16(b), the runners who begin an inning on first and second base pursuant to this rule each shall be deemed to be runners who have reached first base because of a fielding error, but no error shall be charged to the opposing Federation Team or to any player.
Winning Pitcher. Official Baseball Rules 9.17(a)(1) and 9.17(b) ("Winning and Losing Pitcher") shall not apply to Qualifying Round games. Instead, Official Baseball Rule 9.17(e) shall apply to the determination of the winning pitcher of each Qualifying Round game.
Suspended Games. Official Baseball Rules 7.01 ("Regulation Games") and 7.02 ("Suspended, Postponed, and Tie Games") shall remain in effect to the extent that they are not superseded by these Rules.
Any game begun and then called before becoming a regulation game with a winning Federation Team shall become a suspended game (whether or not is has progressed through four and one-half or five innings), subject to the rules below.
A game in the Qualifying Round that is tied after 14 complete innings of play shall become a suspended game as pitcher availability for both Federation Teams would be substantially jeopardized by not suspending the game and pitcher availability would be substantially enhanced by resuming the game as a suspended game on the next day.
Any suspended game shall be resumed at a time and location determined by WBCI. WBCI will try to schedule the resumption of the game the next day, whenever practicable.
Postponed Games. Any game that is postponed before it has begun shall be rescheduled by WBCI.
Light Failure. If ballpark lights fail while a ball is in flight or a play is in progress, the plate umpire shall immediately call "Time." When play is resumed, either when the lights are turned on again or at a later date in a continued suspended game, each runner shall return to the last base the runner had touched at the moment the umpire called "Time." Should the batter be compelled to return to the batter's box, the batter shall assume the count of balls and strikes, if any, that prevailed at the moment the umpire called "Time."
Trips to the Mound. The rules pertaining to the visit of the manager or coach to the pitcher, as described in Official Baseball Rule 5.10(l), are adopted for Qualifying Round games. In addition,
- A manager or coach on a first visit to the mound to any one pitcher is not permitted to return to the mound after leaving the mound.
- If a manager or coach makes an obvious attempt to delay the game on a trip to the mound, the umpire shall order the pitcher to remain in the game until the batter is retired or becomes a base-runner or the side is retired, subject to the Pitcher Use Limitations.
- A manager or coach who starts toward the mound may turn back to the bench without penalty so long as the manager or coach does not cross the foul line. Umpires may warn a manager or coach if the manager or coach starts for the mound the second time in an inning.
- The catcher or any other player may not go to the dugout and then proceed immediately to the mound. Such a visit will be considered a visit to the mound by the manager.
- If a pitcher is removed and the manager or coach remains to talk to the new pitcher, this action shall not be charged as a visit with the new pitcher.
- A manager may request permission from an umpire to visit the mound in case of injury to the pitcher and, if the umpire grants permission, the trip will not be counted as a visit to the mound and the umpire-in-chief shall so inform the opposing manager.
- Subject to the judgment of the umpire-in-chief, any visit to the mound by a player-manager shall be considered a trip to the mound by the manager. The umpire-in-chief shall notify the player-manager and the opposing manager each time a trip is charged.
- A player-coach shall be treated as a player until such time as the player-coach is considered to have abused the privilege. If, in the judgment of the umpire-in-chief, the privilege is abused, the player-coach and the Federation Team's manager will be advised that any future visits to the mound will be charged as trips.
Interpreters on Field. An interpreter may accompany any manager or coach on a trip to the mound, in a discussion with an umpire on the field or on a trip to the field to tend to an injured player. Upon leaving the mound area (18-foot circle) with the manager or coach, should the interpreter return to the mound it will be considered a visit. Any such interpreter shall wear Federation Team apparel suitable for an appearance on-field, such as a shirt or jacket with a Federation Team or World Baseball Classic logo.
Relief Pitcher. When a pitcher warming up in the bullpen has been designated to the umpire-in-chief as a relief pitcher, at the call of the umpire, the pitcher must take a position on the pitching plate promptly. Any extra pitches thrown in the bullpen may be subtracted from the eight permissible from the mound.
Use of Foreign Substance. An umpire may ask a player for any equipment the umpire wishes to inspect for a foreign substance. If a player refuses to give the equipment to the umpire on request, the player should be warned that the player's refusal will subject the player to ejection from the game, and if the player continues to refuse, the umpire should eject the player. At no time should an umpire place hands on a player or use physical force to obtain the player's equipment. A pitcher may not attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.). The umpire shall determine if such attachment is indeed a foreign substance for the purpose of Official Baseball Rule 6.02(c)(7), but in no case may the pitcher be allowed to pitch with such attachment to his hand, finger or wrist.
Substitutions. When notifying the umpire-in-chief of a substitution, pursuant to Official Baseball Rule 5.10, the manager should give the name of the substitute, the player's position in the batting order and the player's position on the field. When two or more substitute players of the defensive Federation Team enter the game at the same time, the manager shall, immediately before they take their positions as fielders, designate to the umpire-in-chief such players' positions in the Federation Team's batting order, and the umpire-in-chief shall so notify the Official Scorer. If this information is not immediately given to the umpire-in-chief, the umpire-in-chief shall have authority to designate the substitutes' places in the batting order.
It is not permissible for the manager to go to the mound, call for a new pitcher, and then inform the umpire of multiple substitutions with the intention of interchanging the batting order. The umpire-in-chief must be informed of the multiple substitutions before the manager calls for a new pitcher (if the manager wishes to interchange the batting order).
If a designated hitter is removed from a game, the substitute designated hitter need not be announced until it becomes such designated hitter's turn to bat.
Ball Striking Helmet. If a helmet comes off unintentionally and a batted ball subsequently hits the helmet on or over fair territory, the ball shall be considered in play and ruled fair or foul according to its position when it is touched by a defensive player or comes to rest. If a helmet comes off unintentionally and a batted ball subsequently hits the helmet in foul territory, the ball shall be a foul ball.
If a thrown ball hits a helmet that has come off unintentionally, the ball shall be in play.
Interpretations. The umpires may be guided by procedures and interpretations contained in the Major League Baseball Umpire Manual.
POOL PLAY AND TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES
The Qualifying Round shall be conducted in a modified double-elimination format (i.e. no game seven).
To determine the pool qualifier that will advance to the 2021 World Baseball Classic Tournament, WBCI shall set forth a schedule to include a format of two pools of six teams. The winning first and second place teams of each pool will advance to the 2021 Tournament. The four Federation Teams that finished in second place in the 2016 Qualifying Round will have a first round bye in the 2020 Qualifying Round. The eight Federation Teams that finished in third and fourth place in the 2016 Qualifying Round are seeded based on its result and current WBSC ranking as of December 31, 2019.
The schedule for each of the two Qualifiers, will be as follows: The winning Federation Teams in Games 1 and 2 shall advance to the winner's bracket to play one of the two Federation teams with the first round bye, in Games 3 and 4, respectively. The loser shall advance to the loser's bracket to play the loser of Games 3 and 4, in Games 5 and 6, respectively. The winners of Games 3 and 4 will play in Game 7, to determine one of the two winners of the Qualifying Round to advance to the 2021 Tournament, the loser to advance to play in Game 9. The winners of Games 5 and 6 will advance to play in Game 8, the losers of Games 5 and 6 will be eliminated. The winner of Game 8 will advance to Game 9 and play the loser of Game 7, the loser of Game 8 will be eliminated. The winner of Game 9 will determine the second winner of the Qualifying Round to advance to the 2021 Tournament, the loser of Game 9 will be eliminated.
WBCI shall set a schedule for the Qualifying Round and any exhibition games played by a Federation Team. No Federation Team may play an exhibition game after having reported to the official World Baseball Classic training camp unless authorized by WBCI. WBCI shall determine the schedule and venue for any postponed or suspended game.
In each Qualifier, home team designations, for purposes of the Official Baseball Rules, shall be as follows, without any regard to the sequence of games played:
- Games 1 and 2: The higher-seeded Federation Team, as determined by WBCI, shall be the home team;
- Games 3 and 4: The second place Federation Teams from the 2016 Qualifying Round, whom have a bye will be the home team;
- Games 5 and 6: The loser of Games 3 and 4 will be the home team;
- Game 7: The home team will be determined by a coin flip, which will take place after Game 4 has been completed;
- Game 8: The home team will be determined by a coin flip, which will take place after Game 6 has been completed; and
- Game 9: The loser of Game 7 will be the home team.
The identity of the "home" Federation Team for purposes of the Official Baseball Rules shall not affect the designation of pre-game practice times or assignments of dugouts or clubhouses. Such designations and assignments shall be made by WBCI without regard to which Federation Team shall be the "home" team for purposes of the Official Baseball Rules.
The GOTC shall determine whether a game shall be postponed, suspended (with the exception of the maximum number of innings in a tie game), or terminated, in consultation with the umpire-in-chief after the game starts.
WBCI shall engage a staff of umpires to officiate Qualifying Round games. Each such Umpire shall sign and submit to WBCI an Umpire Participation Agreement. WBCI shall provide each umpire with a uniform, all parts of which the umpires shall wear while officiating as umpires. Each ballpark shall provide a separate dressing room for the umpires. No visitors except WBCI personnel or the immediate family of an umpire are permitted in the umpires' dressing room. Any immediate family not of the same sex as the umpire or umpires using the umpires' dressing room shall leave the room at the request of any umpire if any umpire is dressing or undressing. All persons except official personnel shall vacate the dressing room 30 minutes prior to game time. At the completion of a game, the umpire crew chief may impose, in the discretion of the crew chief, a 15-minute period during which no visitors except official WBCI personnel are to be allowed in the umpires' dressing room. All umpires shall adhere to any WBCI policies in regard to security. "Immediate family" is defined as spouses, grandparents, parents, siblings and children.
No umpire may, directly or indirectly, ask any player, manager, coach, locker room attendant or other Federation Team personnel for any autographs. Similarly, Federation Team personnel, including any player, manager, coach or other field personnel (including locker room attendants), are prohibited from providing umpires with autographs except as may be approved by WBCI.
No umpire shall directly or indirectly, ask for, take, sell, market for sale or participate in or otherwise traffic in Federation Team or WBCI property, such as baseballs, bats, uniforms, lineup cards or the like. No umpire may, directly or indirectly, validate or certify any baseball, bat, uniform or other object as genuine or as actually used in a game.