SINGAPORE. — A global governing body for e-sports was launched here yesterday hoping to marry the fast-growing modern sport with Olympic values often tied to traditional ones.
To that end, the Global E-Sports Federation will be helmed by Singapore National Olympic Council secretary-general Chris Chan, who is its president.
One of its three vice-presidents, Charmaine Crooks, represented Canada at the Olympics, winning a silver medal in 1984 as part of a 4x400m relay team. The other two vice-presidents are Wei Jizhong, an honorary life vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia, and Edward Cheng, vice-president of Chinese technology giant Tencent, which is also GEF’s global founding partner. Describing e-sports as “misunderstood”, Chan noted that the GEF, whose vision is to be “the voice and authority for the worldwide e-sports movement”, is not the first organisation trying to lead e-sports globally.
The International E-sports Federation, which started in 2008 and is based in South Korea, is one. Its mission is to have electronic sports recognised as a legitimate sport, and it lists 56 countries as member nations on its website.
Chan noted that the GEF does not “claim to be the (definitive) e-sports federation”.
Its aim is to “galvanise the sport” and “bring some recognition and legitimacy to the sport”.
It wants to “reach out to all the stakeholders involved in e-sports and (hopes) to work with everybody”. Added Cheng: “With our collective effort, I believe e-sports will unleash the unlimited possibilities of sports in the digital age.” At yesterday’s launch, the GEF laid out five key objectives, namely:
To encourage and support the establishment of national e-sports federations with a set of relevant standards, guidelines and regulations;
To 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;
To convene and stage e-sports competitions, conventions, fora and development programmes;
To develop world-class governance structures and guidelines for the GEF, and;
To create, develop and stage the annual flagship Global E-Sport Games, with the first Games — likely to be in China — to be staged at the end of next year. E-sports made its debut as a full-fledged medal discipline at this month’s SEA Games, the first time it has been included at an Olympic-recognised, multi-sport competition. It was also included in last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia but only as a demonstration event, and has been dropped from the 2022 roster. Last year, the International Olympic Committee and the Global Association of International Sports Federations held a forum about e-sports and the Olympics.
It was meant to kick-start a dialogue and future engagement between the Olympic movement and the e-sports and gaming industry, which is expected to have a worldwide audience of 450 million and bring in US$1 billion in revenue this year. Yip Ren Kai, a former national water polo player and co-founder of Reddentes Sports, a sports marketing agency that has made inroads into e-sports, said the formation of GEF is exciting for the sport here.
“Singapore has always positioned ourselves at the forefront of technological advancement,” he said. “And from the hosting of the (inaugural) Youth Olympic Games in 2010, we have shown we are willing to take risks and try to add our own unique qualities… to help the Games become what it is today.
“With GEF, this is another chance to show the world what Singapore and Singaporeans can do for e-sports and the industry players within it.” — The Straits Times.