E-Sports for the Olympics?

By Emre Bilginoglu, Attorney-at-Law, Istanbul, Turkey

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dr Thomas Bach, has stated in an interview with the South China Morning Post newspaper that he is not opposed, in principle, to the inclusion of E-Sports in the Olympic Games.

He indicated that only games that promote Olympic values could be accepted. In other words, those that do not incite discrimination and violence, and promote peace amongst people.

He concludes that:

“This doesn’t match with video games, which are about violence, explosions, and killing. And there were have to draw a clear line.”

And he adds that:

“E-Sports that mirror traditional sports, like soccer or basketball, could be considered.”

A generally supportive statement from the President of the IOC is certainly encouraging for the E-Sports’ community.

However, from his statement, it sounds like he is certainly ruling out CS:GO (a first-person shooter video game) for the Olympics. Apart from the violence, there is a key point that needs to be discussed.

The earliest Olympic Games with E-Sports could be in 2024 in Paris. However, we do not know which games, that are played today, will continue to be played 7 years from now.

When looking at the E-Sports tournaments held 10 years ago, none of the games that are played today even existed. E-Sports video games are constantly evolving and changing.

This particular ambiguity, therefore, is the toughest challenge for the E-Sports’ community on the way to its possible participation in the Olympic Games in the future – perhaps in Paris in 2024, the organisers of which are open to the idea.


Emre Bilginoglu may be contacted by e-mail at ‘emre@caglayanyalcin.com’.