International e-Sports Federation applies for esports recognition as an Olympic sport

by theScore Staff Apr 16 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of Courtesy International e-Sports Federation

If the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) has its way, esports could become a matter of national pride.

The South Korea-based organization has applied to the International Olympic Committee for the recognition of esports as an Olympic sport.

The IeSF was founded eight-years-ago with the desire to "promote e-Sport as a true sport beyond language, race and cultural barriers."

They are an official signatory of the World Anti-Doping Agency for esports. This means that the IeSF (its member countries and athletes) agree to abide by the rules set in the WADA Code. It's a document that "harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities around the world."

Since 2009, the IeSF organization has been holding yearly tournaments in its home country of South Korea with players from its member nations.

Alex Lim, the secretary general for the IeSF told theScore esports in an email that the evaluation process for recognition is due to start in December of this year.

Applicants looking to get recognition from the IOC can send their requests at two times during the year. Lim said the IeSF will be applying in the second phase before August. The IOC will review recognition requests files from that period at their executive board meeting in December in Lausanne, Switzerland.

According to Lim, the IOC also requires that applicants answer a questionnaire with specific information on their prospective sports. The questionnaire covers general information, history and tradition, universality, popularity, athletes, governance and development of the sport.

Though the application covers recognition for esports as a whole, the IeSF created a title committee in order to determine which games would be selected in the event that esports are featured at the Olympics.

Lim said that the IeSF would use a committee and consultations with individuals with extensive esports experience in order to determine which potential games would be featured at the Olympics.

An additional hurdle IeSF must overcome for IOC recognition is a SportAccord Membership — something that IeSF President Byung Hun Jun said, in a press release, that the organization is "currently working hard to receive."

SportAccord is a union for Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations as well as organizers of international sporting events. Membership in SportAccord would mean that esports fit the organization's definition of sport.

So how much longer do you need to wait until you can cheer for your country's national CS:GO team? Lim cautioned: "please note Rome [wasn't] built in a day."

With files from Josh Bury.

Will Alcopra is a News Editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter!