The e-Sports momentum is arising in Europe to be officially recognized as a sport.
Member nations of the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) in Europe, Russia, Italy, and Denmark, have been officially recognized as a sport by sports authorities in each country, luring interest of surrounding nations in Europe.
The Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation has officially announced on June 7th that e-Sports is officially recognized as a sport. The Russian e-Sports Federation (ReSF) has been continuing its efforts to become a sport since 2001. ReSF has received the title as ‘Master of Sports in Russia’, and will be supported to open education programs in e-sports refereeing and coaching. ReSF will be able to host competitions which are officially endorsed by the Ministry of Sports. Moreover, it is expected to simplify VISA issues for international e-sports players entering Russia will be eligible for sports VISA.
The Italian e-sports Association(ITeSPA) has been successful in being recognized by the Movement Popular Italian sport(MSP), an affiliated organization under the authority of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI). As a step taken by Italy to be included with the International e-Sport movement, ITeSPA will be leading the domestic e-Sports engagements within its region. Moreover, ITeSPA will focus on developing an education program to train coaches, referees, and athletes to meet the developing demand for e-Sports specialists.
The National Federation of Denmark (eSports Denmark) is continuing its efforts of being recognized National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF). Although it has not been recognized as an official sport, it has been able to be an associate member of the Denmark Athletic Federation (DAF). This first step for eSports Denmark is a significant step in creating the momentum of e-Sports in Denmark, and evaluated to be the first foundation stone of becoming a sport.
Russia and Italy e-sports being recognize by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and National Sports Authority (NSA) has increased the number of NOC/NSA recognized members into 21 Nations (Asia 14, Europe 4, Africa 3).
The Asian continent has led the spread of e-sports recognition until now, which was an influence of e-sports participating in the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), endorsed by the Olympic Council of Asia. Although European countries are not as convinced as Asia, the recognition in Russia and Italy is expected to create a momentum to trigger e-sports interests to rise in by European Sports Authorities. e-Sports in Europe has been able to develop into a sustainable model for the past years. Recently various football clubs, based in Europe, have now started investing their capital into the e-sports by recruiting their own team. The synergy expected with movement of sports capital and recognition of e-sports will be a notable scene to keep ones interest on.
IeSF was established in 2008, working as the sole international governing body representing the discipline of e-sports. It currently has 45 affiliated national members, and is continuing to support its members for e-Sports recognition, while continuing its trials for e-Sports to be recognized by international sport society members.
e-Sports recognition as a sport will make possible to share the legacy of traditional sports and enable for national level support. It will also support in the IeSF works by giving extra momentum to receive recognition from the international sports society. Its recognition as a sport can solve fundamental problems, such as visa issues, which e-sports athletes have been facing for many years. IeSF hopes that the momentum for sports recognition is continues, to be embraced by the sports society.
“IeSF would like to express its sincere appreciation and congratulate Russia, Italy and Denmark for its continuous hard work and efforts to make e-sports recognized in each country. Being recognized starts building the e-Sports infrastructure in the country, and also gives the authority to host national level competition, and select & manage national athletes.” said Alex Lim, Secretary General of IeSF. “We plan to operate the International e-Sports Academy, which will also support retired athletes looking for second life careers. We will be supporting countries to build and also share the infrastructure to strengthen each national member’s education platform. IeSF is consistently making effort to receive recognition from SportAccord and IOC. IeSF will continue its efforts knock on doors of countries without NOC/NSA recognition to encourage national level support for e-Sports. We request for all e-Sports fans, athletes, and all stakeholders for your support”.