Tuesday 15 April 2014

From club to national federation to international federation

With the debate surrounding what is, or isn't, a national federation, it is important for people to know how federations are formed.

Although I will be writing in general terms, the basics apply to practically every national federation.

It all starts with the individual!

All you need is one individual who wants to play with other individuals. Eventually through a sense of community, the individuals playing together form a society to reflect their common interest in the game, and as such a club is born!

Then the newly formed club looks for other clubs to play against. Should they not find any, the club either stagnates and eventually dies, or it boldly, and unabashedly, promotes the growth of other clubs.

Once the clubs have created a framework for competition, the clubs generally come together to form the federation.

As such, the club always precedes the federation.

The MSSA (https://www.facebook.com/mindsportssa) is no different. Some of the member clubs date back as far as the 1970's (Wits Wargames Club which was founded in 1979) whereas the federation was only founded in 1985.

This is true for swimming as well where clubs in what was known as the Transvaal were founded as early as 1884, but the Transvaal Swimming Association was only founded in 1902.

Even in football, a British club like Cambridge was founded in 1846, the Football Association (English) was only founded in 1863 whereas the international federation (FIFA) was only constituted in 1904.

However, what is important to note is that at no time does government become involved in the creation of these national sport bodies.

In fact government involvement is decidedly frowned upon and discouraged by the international controlling bodies.

So, just like any other sport, eSports has done its time in developing the national federation with the first clubs being formed in the 1970's, the national federation being formed in 1985, and the international federation (the IeSF) being formally constituted in 2008.

Few gamers will understand the amount of work that it has taken a small group of dedicated people to get eSports to this level, and many of those who have poured their hearts and efforts into this project may very well be forgotten over time. However, the legacy of having a non-profit structure that is dedicated to the promotion of the games and a structure that is dedicated to serving the gamer will endure for many decades to come!

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