Ministry of Sport

IOC president, Thomas Bach – The future of esports at the olympics

Mounting pressure from the broader gaming community could see esports included at the Olympics in the near future, pending the removal of violence.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, told press at the Asian Games in Jakarta, games involving violence would not be accepted as they don’t align with their core values.

“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination,” Bach said.

“They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot, therefore, be accepted.”

The IOC held an esports forum at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland in July, confirming that esports is very much on their radar but notably, there are some hurdles to overcome.

That particular meeting resulted in the formation of an Esports Liaison Group, which will continue to communicate to identify opportunities for the Olympic Movement and esports to collaborate in the future.

“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people,” Bach said.

“But sport is the civilised expression about this.

“If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.”

With professional sporting teams in traditional sporting codes such as the NBA and Premier League buying their own esports team, it is quite possible to have them integrated into the Olympics given their relationship with the established franchises.

Competitive gaming continues to grow in popularity and so do the formal leagues that will provide a sustainable system of ranking gamers based on their tournament performances, ultimately providing a pathway to be selected for their country.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney