Esports entering into the Olympics has been a topic of discussion for quite some time now and it seemed as if it would become a reality – but now there are some major hurdles for esports to jump before it’s accepted.
Following this year’s Asian Games event, Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee President spoke to the Associated Press in an interview condemning certain games in esports from the possibility of entering the Olympics: “We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot, therefore, be accepted.”
Bach’s statement is most likely referring to shooter games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty, both of which are prominent titles in esports.
Bach continued: “If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.”
Esports was held as a demonstration sport at the Asian Games, a multi-sport event recognised by the International Olympic Committee held every four years only for Asian athletes. Competitions in Arena of Valor, Clash Royale, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Pro Evolution Soccer and Starcraft II were held as a possible pre-cursor to esports as a full-medal sport at the Asian Games in 2022 and the Olympics.
While it seemed as if everything was on track to include esports in the 2022 Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia announced a setback last month due to the lack of one governing body. Esports, in and of itself, has no one body over every game that has a competitive structure. Each developer oversees its respective title and while there are organisations that look to govern, they are only tied to specific tournaments and teams. Supporters, however, hoped the display at the 2018 Asian Games would have swayed the decision.
Esports Insider says: This comment seems fairly ironic considering many Olympic events are in some ways based on violence. Thomas Bach, himself, holds a gold medal in fencing from the 1976 Olympics. It should also be noted the Olympics aren’t known for a squeaky clean reputation when it comes to moral standards. Cities and countries go virtually bankrupt to host these events with labour issues from construction, doping scandals, political controversies country to country, the list goes on. It’s interesting to be afraid of a shooter video game, on the other hand, while esports’ involvement in the Olympic Games has the potential to be wildly groundbreaking, it’s not necessary. Many prominent figures in the space have made it very clear that esports doesn’t NEED the Olympics, but possibly the other way around as people start caring less and less about traditional sports.