The Australian Esports Association and Australian Olympic Committee
will not participate in AIMAG 2017, Turkmenistan
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced inclusion of esports as a demonstration event at the Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in 2017, the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in 2018 and the Hangzhou Asian Games in 2022.
The esports event will consist of four events:
- MOBA: DOTA 2 (Team Event)
- RTS: StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (Individuals Event)
- CCG: Hearthstone (Individuals Event)
- FGC: King of Fighters XIV (Individuals Event)
Previously the OCA featured esports as a demonstration event at the AIMAG 2009 and 2013 events in full collaboration with the International Esports Federation (IeSF), recognising the IeSF as an official partner and international federation for esports. The IeSF has been continuously communicating and cooperating with the OCA to conduct and manage esports since 2009, with an interest to assist in the inclusion of esports at the AIMAG 2017, and Asian Games 2018 and 2022 events.
The IeSF works to ensure that good governance is maintained during esports events, that care is taken to ensure the proper infrastructure is provided and that competition is executed in a fair play environment. Including ensuring that the rights, interests and welfare of participating athletes are protected with appropriate policy and regulation.
The IeSF operates with a core goal of improving esports recognition and credibility, and in doing so works to introduce good governance structure, policies and regulations to support esports across the globe. The IeSF currently comprises of 46 nations, 25 of which have already officially recognised esports, with the Australian Esports Association (AESA) representing Australia as an official member.
The OCA have included nations from Oceania on the invite list to their events, providing Australian athletes more opportunities to participate in Olympic level events, with Australia sending 30 athletes to the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games in Japan’s northern city of Sapporo as a “guest” delegation.
The AESA met with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) to hold detailed discussions about the fast growing and exciting world of esports and Australian participation in these events.
In examining this opportunity with the AOC two key areas of concern were highlighted that would preclude official Australian participation:
- In an unusual precedent, the OCA announced that the registration process for esports for AIMAG 2017 will be held directly through an independent online portal, with the official national team selection not being conducted through the respective National Sporting Organisation (NSO) being the AESA or National Olympic Committee (NOC) being the AOC. This is inconsistent with generally accepted practices for national representation of sporting codes; and
- Whilst the invitation for Australia to participate in OCA events represents a great opportunity for Australian athletes, the AOC has already committed to participating in only those sports that feature in the 2020 Olympic Program. Until esports is an official medal event in the Olympic program for 2020, the AOC will not send an Australian team to compete in esports events.
The AESA reiterates the critical importance of upholding the values and credibility of sport, and standing by its principals, and calls for the OCA to ensure the esports competition and athlete registration is handled with equal regard, procedural robustness and integrity as other competitive (and nationally representative) sports.
In this current environment, the AOC have stated they will not be dispatching additional athletes to participate in esports at AIMAG 2017. Should circumstances be addressed, the AESA is prepared to support Australian athletes in participating at this event; to ensure the rights, interests and welfare of Australian athletes are protected.
The AESA was established in 2013 with the mission of supporting and driving the development of a sustainable and thriving esports industry in Australia. At the core of our values are the practice of good governance, integrity, fair play, and social responsibility among its members and industry. Our board of directors consists of members from both within and outside of esports and seek to develop best practice in every aspect of what we do.
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The Australian Esports Association