The International e-Sports Federation raised the topic of “Athlete Welfare” during the Global e-Sports Executive Summit, held in Shanghai from July 31st to August 1st.
Global e-Sports Executive Summit Shanghai 2016
Panel discussion “Athlete Welfare: How to support the education / Career of the players”
The panelists on the discussion for Athlete Welfare consisted of various stake-holders being; Charmaine Crooks, 5 times Olympian and the former member of IOC Athlete Commission, Spike Laurie, Vice President of International Business Development of ESL, Alex Lim, Secretary General of IeSF, and Koen Schobbers, Athlete Representative of Netherlands, have participated accordingly.
“The remarkable development of the esports industry until now has been driven by professional and commercial level. Despite the fact that the competitive level of eSports is up to great standards, the structure to protect the rights, interests, and welfare of players is still at a very preliminary stage. This is the main reason why IeSF is continuously pushing for eSports to be recognized as an official sports, for eSports players to be protected as an official athlete and also receive the identical social benefits from public structures of society” said Alex Lim during his presentation prior to the Panel discussion of Athlete Welfare.
Lim added “Most of e-sports players spend their youth and teenage years doing eSports at a competitive level. For this reason, they have less opportunity to receive school education and acquire core life skills needed for the future. To establish a social safeguard for our youth and offer a successful career transition for second life careers, we would like to announce today our new slogan "Protect Player". IeSF will officially launch the International eSports Academy from September to support athlete welfare and athlete’s second life while also strive to expand the foundation of eSports”.
Global e-Sports Executive Summit Shanghai 2016
Alex Lim, Secretary General of IeSF, announced the slogan “PROTECT PLAYER”
Charmaine Crooks emphasized the importance of continuous conversation with athletes, and commented “To protect players, understandings on athletes current standing and situation is very important. The continuous interest of National Federations, International Federation, IOC and society is very crucial. Most important of all is the willingness of these governing bodies to listen to the voices of athletes”
“We start to act as professional player from teenagers” said Koen Schobbers,” Therefore, the role of parents is very important. The Generation of parents considers e-sports as video game rather than sports and therefore, there needs to be support for a thorough understanding. I believe it is necessary to accurately explain to the parents what the e-sports industry is and the career opportunities it has” mentioned Koen Schobbers.
Spike Laurie emphasized the challenges of the current system for education opportunities and stressed the necessity of collaboration between stake holders. “It is possible, but very difficult for player to conduct both school education and competitive gaming. This is mainly due to the tight schedules of different tournaments. One day they will be in USA, and the following week in China, and then back in Europe. For player’s education, there needs to be a understanding and a cooperation between the school, player, event organizers to make this possible” said Spike Laurie.
At the end of the Global e-Sports Executive Summit, IeSF officially announced the establishment of the Athlete Commission, as the first step to protect athlete’s rights, interests and welfare. Through recommendation from 47 member nations and internal reviewing of IeSF, five Athlete Commission members have been appointed; Young Ho Lee(Korea, Starcraft), Leonardo Ribas(Brazil, League of Legends), Jason Batzofin (South Africa, Counter Strike & Ancients Period), Koen Schobbers (Netherlands, Track Mania), and women athlete representative, Madeleine Leander (Sweden, StarCraft).
Athlete Commission Establishment : from left, Koen Schobbers(Netherlands), Young Ho Lee(Korea),
Jason Batzofin(South Africa), Byung Hun Jun(President of IeSF), Leonardo Ribas(Brazil)
On behalf of the Athlete Commission members, Koen Schobbers commented “It is honor to be selected as athlete representative of Athlete Commission. As the athlete representative, we will try our best to protect player’s rights and interests and welfare. And of course, listen to player’s voices to deliver and communicate to IeSF.”
The next step for the Athletes Commission is to support the foundation of the Athletes Commission in the right direction by listening and gathering the feedback of e-Sports athletes. Also the members will be working together to protect players by acting as a channel to voice for all e-Sports athletes to the IeSF. The first activities of the commission will take place during the 8th e-Sports World Championships Jakarta 2016. For the reason that it is the first Athlete Commission in the e-Sports industry, in order to support the formation of the e-Sports Athlete Commission, former IOC Athlete Commission member, Charmaine Crooks will be sharing her knowledge as an advisor.
IeSF will continue its efforts to protect players and moreover to proceed its steps for e-Sports to be recognized as a true sport. The Athlete Commission established today is very preliminary, but has the vision to protect e-Sports athletes and also to work together with the IOC Athlete Commission in the future, after the recognition process is finalized for e-Sports.