NEW YORK -- Baseball's world governing body threatened to withdraw its sanctioning of the World Baseball Classic unless the U.S. government allows Cuba to compete.
A letter was faxed from International Baseball Federation president Aldo Notari informing Major League Baseball of the IBAF's decision, said Rich Levin, a spokesman for the MLB commissioner's office, on Friday.
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 MLB and the MLB Players Association.
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.
MLB 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.