A new global governing body for the esports ecosystem, the Global Esports Federation, has launched with the backing of Chinese multinational conglomerate Tencent.
Encompassing the entire esports ecosystem, the new body aims to govern players, organisations, commercial partners, and more.
With the burgeoning growth of esports – both as a spectator sport and as an economic venture, providing a valuable avenue to a young and tech-savvy market to countless businesses and advertisers – the Global Esports Federation has been established with the aim of growing and regulating the industry.
According to a press release, the Federation will be “guided by the values of sport and the principle of harnessing technology and innovation for good.”
At launch, the federation signed an agreement with Tencent, which has been named as a founding global partner. Chris Chan, President of the Global Esports Federation conducted the signature of the deal alongside Edward Cheng, Vice President of Global Esports Federation and Vice President of Tencent.
Those that witnessed the ceremony included Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, the Guest of Honour, and two further Vice Presidents of the GEF: Charmaine Crooks, a five-time Olympian and Board Member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, and Wei Jizhong, Honorary Life Vice President of the Olympic Council of Asia. Board members of the federation and global esports, sports, and commercial representatives were also in attendance.
Chan commented on the federation’s formation: “We are excited to navigate the pathway and shape the future with the launch of the Global Esports Federation. The GEF will help develop the credibility, legitimacy, and prestige to esports in society by leveraging the history, foundations, the values of sport, and the principle of harnessing technology and innovation for sports. The commitment of Tencent and the vision of the leadership team are evident in this groundbreaking moment to join GEF as our Founding Global Partner. The inclusion of Tencent will tremendously help in the growth, education, culture, and wellness of the esports ecosystem.”
The GEF has announced Singapore as the location of their Headquarters, and named four distinct “pillars” through which they will focus their efforts: connecting traditional and active esports with the global sporting community, active youth participation, world-class governance and compliance standards, and education, culture, and wellness.
Cheng added: “With our collective effort, I believe esports will unleash the unlimited possibilities of sports in the Digital Age. On the path to building a community with a shared future for mankind, esports will shine!”
The GEF’s first five objectives going forward were set out as follows:
- Encourage and support the establishment of National Esports Federations with a set of relevant standards, guidelines, and regulations
- Establish an athlete commission, with a focus on athlete well-being, development of standards for fair play, career support, and education to ensure safe, doping free, and ethically compliant practices
- Convene and stage esports competitions, conventions, fora, and development programmes
- Development of world class governance structures and guidelines for the Global Esports Federation
- Create, develop, and stage the annual flagship Global Esports Games, with the first Games to be staged in 2020
The Global Esports Federation also confirmed that membership to the federation is open to sports organisations (including international and national federations), commercial organisations (including publishers, developers, sponsors, and event organisers), and non-commercial organisations (including cities and other non-governmental organisations).
It is currently unclear what relationship, if any, will exist between the GEF and the International Esports Federation (IESF). The IESF, formed in 2008, has partnered with 56 member nations—including China—in order to fulfill its mission of furthering esports on a global scale.
Esports Insider says: While any body set up to help develop the esports industry is promising news for those within it, the open partnership with Tencent – a company well known for having its finger in many esports pies – throws any notion of the Federation’s impartiality out of the window.