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IOC takes 'baby step' to recognise esports and include discipline at Olympic Games

By Tom Walker    27 Jul 2018
IOC president Thomas Bach (left) with Jacob “Jake” Lyon - a professional esports player / IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has created a liaison group to work together with the esports community – seen widely as a 'baby step' towards the inclusion of competitive gaming at the Olympic Games.

While no firm plans to integrate esports into the Olympics exist, the new Esports Liaison Group has been tasked with "increasing collaboration between various stakeholders of the Olympic movement and the esports and gaming community".

The announcement was made during the Olympic Esports forum, hosted on 21 July in Lausanne by the IOC and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).

IOC described the event as the beginning of a "dialogue to build joint understanding" and set a platform for future engagement between the esports and gaming industries and the Olympic family.

Participants included over 150 representatives from across the esports and gaming world: players, publishers, teams, media, sponsors and event organisers; and from across the Olympic Movement: national Olympic committees, international sports federations, athletes, partners, broadcasters, the IOC and the GAISF.

The Forum explored areas of commonality and potential collaboration, including the question of whether esports could be recognised as a sport," an IOC spokesperson said.

"We also looked at the different forms they could represent within the Olympic Movement – as an organisation does not currently exist that represents esports globally and could align with the Olympic values, rules and regulations."

GAISF president and IOC member Patrick Baumann added: “One thing, in particular, was clear from these fascinating discussions - we are united by passion for our sports and a shared love of competition.

"That’s a positive starting point for further discussions about possible future cooperation between the Olympic and esports communities.”

The Esports Liaison Group will next convene at the Olympism in Action Forum in Buenos Aires in October. The topic of esports will also be discussed with all 206 national Olympic committees at the XXIII ANOC General Assembly in Tokyo in November.

International Olympic Committee  IOC  Olympic Games  esports  GAISF 
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