IBAF threatens to revoke sanctioning of Classic

NEW YORK -- Baseball's world governing body has threatened to withdraw its sanctioning of the World Baseball Classic unless the Bush administration allows Cuba to compete.

Rich Levin, a spokesman for the commissioner's office, said Friday that a letter was faxed from International Baseball Federation president Aldo Notari, informing Major League Baseball of the IBAF's decision.

It is unclear whether the 16-team tournament, scheduled for March 3-20, would go forward without the IBAF's sanction. The tournament is being jointly administered by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Notari's letter was first reported Thursday by the Toronto Sun.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control in mid-December denied the request for a license to allow Cuba to participate. The license is necessary because of U.S. laws governing certain commercial transactions with the Fidel Castro-controlled nation.

Baseball reapplied on Dec. 22 after Cuba said it would donate any money it earned from its participation to victims of Hurricane Katrina. The commissioner's office and the union said OFAC had not told them of its decision on the revised application.

"We're hopeful that Cuba will be able to play," Levin said.