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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Baseball gets its own World Cup
New York Yankees stars Derek Jeter (left) and Alex Rodriguez
It remains to be seen whether stars like Jeter (left) and A-Rod play
A World Cup-style baseball event will be held for the first time next March.

The 16-team World Baseball Classic is expected to feature teams from baseball hotbeds Cuba, Japan and the USA.

South Korea, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia are also set to participate.

"Our goal is to grow the game globally. I have very strong feelings on that subject," said Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

"This is something we've talked about for a long time."

Apart from Cuba, which has strict rules on professional sport, countries would be able to use players from the MLB.

But it remains to be seen how many stars opt to play, despite the event having the backing of the MLB Players Association.

If successful, the tournament would be held again in 2009 and then every four years.

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