IOC Will Not Recognize Any World Governing Body for Esports Including Tencent-Backed GEF

A written statement from the IOC’s Esports and Gaming Liaison Group (ELG) to all summer and winter federations is stating unequivocally that they do not plan to recognize any group or organization as “the world governing body for esports,” which includes Tencent’s Global Esports Federation. In fact, according to the report by insidethegames, sports have been “warned” by the IOC not to join the GEF.

The ELG is chaired by International Cycling Union President David Lappartient.

The GEF, which was formed last year in Singapore and backed by Tencent (who was named a “global founding partner”), states that its aim is to be “the voice and authority for the worldwide esports movement.” It is one of many such organizations founded in the last two years.

Chris Chan, who is secretary of the Singapore National Olympic Council and COO of the GEF, said GEF was formed as a way to have esports included in the Olympic Games.

The race to become the world governing body of esports as whole is still being run frantically as the GEF was in some part built as a way to overshadow the South Korean upstart, International eSports Federation (IeSF). The IeSF was started in 2008 and looks to promote esports as a legitimate competitive space akin to traditional sports. 

The difference between the two organizations is that the GEF is looking to have Olympic sports become members of the GEF while the IeSF looks to promote and facilitate international competitions. However, there have been a handful of Olympic sports that have acquired membership with the GEF, including archery, canoeing, karate,and tennis.

The IeSF has not signed deals with any Olympic sports.

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