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International Games
Thursday, October 29, 2020
IOC Warn Olympic Sports Not to Join GEF

Sports have been warned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to join the Global Esports Federation (GEF).

The IOCís Esports and Gaming Liaison Group (ELG), chaired by International Cycling Union President David Lappartient, has written to all to the summer and winter International Federations telling them they do not plan to recognize any organization as the world governing body for esports.

The Singapore-based GEF was launched last December and is backed by Chinese technology company Tencent.

It was set up with the aim to "establish the credibility, legitimacy, and prestige for esports" and build "an inclusive platform to bring together all the stakeholders from the esports industry to help shape the GEF mission and maximize the potential for esports and its participants".

The GEF has strong links to the Olympic Movement.

Its President is Chris Chan, secretary of the Singapore National Olympic Council, and its chief operating officer is Paul Foster, the IOCís former head of protocol, events, and hospitality.

At its launch, Chan set GEF the aim of Olympic Games inclusion, claiming they could help end the "misunderstanding" of esports, which continues to grow in popularity and has started to enter the Olympic Movement.

The GEF was set up as a rival to the South Korean-based International eSports Federation (IeSF), established in 2008 and whose mission it is to have esports recognized as a legitimate sport.

Since its launch, several Olympic sports have become members of the GEF, including archery, canoeing, karate, modern pentathlon, surfing, taekwondo, and tennis.

The Olympic Council of Asia and the Commonwealth Games Federation have also signed agreements to work with the GEF.

The IeSF has not signed deals with any Olympic sports and instead channels its efforts into hosting the Esports World Championship, the organizationís flagship competition where esports athletes represent their national teams.

The ELG - which also includes the Presidents of both the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), Francesco Ricci Bitti and Gian Franco Kasper, respectively, and Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) head Raffaele Chiulli - revealed it does not plan to work exclusively with one organization.
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