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Baseball cut from Olympics by three votes

LONDON -- Three months after being cut from the 2012 Olympics, baseball found out Friday how close the vote was -- very close.

Baseball lost its place in the Olympics by three votes, international federation president Aldo Notari told The Associated Press.

The result -- 54-50 against, with 53 votes in favor needed to remain -- was tight enough for the sport to push for a vote of reinstatement in February.

"We have a duty to get back in the Olympics," Notari said.

The International Olympic Committee voted in July to cut softball and baseball after the 2008 Beijing Games, the first sports removed from the program since polo in 1936.

The vote totals were kept secret at the time, but the softball and baseball federations later asked the IOC for the figures.

The vote count for softball was released in late August. The sport fell one vote short of making the cut -- 52-52, with one abstention.

Baseball also needed a majority of 53 votes to stay on the Olympic program. The figures were released by the IOC on Friday.

Notari said baseball would join softball in seeking another vote at the IOC's next general assembly in February on the eve of the Winter Games in Turin, Italy. Softball has already said it will try to overturn the decision.

"The result was very close in both cases, with a difference of only one or two votes," Notari said in a telephone interview from Italy. "I think we and softball deserve another chance."

Notari and softball federation president Don Porter met separately this week with IOC president Jacques Rogge in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss the procedure for possible readmittance.

Under IOC rules, at least one-third of the 115 members would need to submit a motion to consider a new vote. Then, half the membership would need to vote in favor of the motion. If that passed, the sports would require a majority in favor to win reinstatement.

"We will do all we can," Notari said. "For us, being an Olympic sport is very, very important. Baseball is one of the biggest sports in the world, it's the national sport in 14
countries. What other sport can say that, apart from soccer?"

Baseball has been in the Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Softball, a women's-only sport, made its Olympic debut in Atlanta in 1996.

IOC members cited Major League Baseball's unwillingness to let its players take part in the Olympics and the sport's doping problems as major reasons for the decision to remove it from the games.

"The best athletes are not competing and the major athletes perform in an environment where doping controls are not what we have in the Olympic world," Rogge said after the Singapore vote.