Korean e-Sports Association, KeSPA Declines to participate in 2017 AIMAG Turkmen
The Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA) is putting forth the following statements concerning the recent announcements of esports discipline management in the 2017 Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, and 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
KeSPA has been in close relation with AIMAG, a mega sport event of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), for two consecutive trials (2009, 2013), dispatching the national team squad to represent the Republic of Korea. During the 2013 AIMAG Incheon, KeSPA took the role to support as the hosting nation’s national federation, and has worked closely with the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), an official International Federation(IF) recognized by the OCA, to conduct and manage esports discipline during the AIMAG. In addition, KeSPA has been continuing its footsteps to promote esports as a true sports, engaging in constant communication with various international sports federations in Asia, such as the OCA, 2017 AIMAG Organizing Committee, 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games Organizing Committee together with IeSF.
Identifying the inappropriate procedures of esport discipline management in the recent announcements of AIMAG and Asian Games, KeSPA would like to announce that is will not take part in the 2017 AIMAG and will correspond with other Asian nations with a unified voice to fix the unprecedented matter which should not exist in the international sports society.
IeSF has been in continuous conversation with the OCA and 2017 Turkmenistan AIMAG Organizing Committee for esports to continue its involvement as a title in the Games. However due to the lack internet infrastructure and budget, it was concluded that it is not able to manage esports with sufficient resources in the region.
The OCA has announced a staggering release this april, that esports discipline for 2017 AIMAG, 2018 & 2022 Asian games will be managed through Alisports a private enterprise owned by Alibaba group, rather than to conduct it through the officially recognized international federation of the OCA, which is the IeSF. Last week, it has announced that the official national team selection will not be conducted through the National Federations and National Olympic committee, and will be registering participants online for anyone to register, not to mention the tournaments qualifiers are also to be conducted online.
In General, to manage a specific sport during a mega sports event, at least two to three years is required to select the specific disciplines, register national teams and its National team Squad with the NOC, and also receive verification by an International Federation. Especially when it is related to a specific disciplines, it is important to form a consensus with the majority of national federations to prepare for competitive level of athletes, and also to establish an environment for these players to continuously participate and train to the ultimate level. Surprisingly, 2017 AIMAG currently lacked in these official processes for esports, especially to mention the selection of specific game titles, which have not reached any type of consensus with the NOC, National Federation, or the athletes themselves. Moreover, it has been found through investigation, that the announcement to include esports has been conducted without consideration of the athletes, not being eligible to receive support in becoming a member of the national team squad.
KeSPA has approached the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) to ask about the participation process of the 2017 AIMAG and received the following feedback:
KOC has already finalized national team squad for all participating disciplines and therefore cannot dispatch additional esports athletes as official national team members. KOC added after their internal check, that it is a non-medal event, and moreover, that the registration platform is connected a web of a private enterprise (Alisports), and not the official registration platform of Turkmenistan Organizing Committee, an incident which has never been seen or existed before. Considering the current circumstances, KeSPA has also concluded not to dispatch national team members for the rights and interest of Korean esports athletes cannot be protected at this point of time.
We would like to also touch on the topic concerning the selection of national teams and the Asian Esports Federation which the OCA has mentioned in its announcements. KeSPA, as the member of IeSF, has been following the strategic plan and continuous footsteps to establishment of an “Asian Esports Federation”, a movement which has been progress through past General Meetings of IeSF. The preparation has started its process few years back with UAE and Iran National Federations for esports, leading the actions, and was ready for the announcement of the Federation together with other esports National Federations of Asia.
Currently there are no National Federations recognized by the NOC/NSA which are affiliated to Alisports in the Asian region. It is a definite fact that Alisports has formed an organization called Asian Esports Federation under the nose of IeSF, in order to manage the esports discipline at a Mega Sports Event. Moreover, the information has also been verified with the General Administration of Sport of China, the government division of China in charge of esports, also had no visual that such a federation was created.
Alisports has been a partner of IeSF for the past year which has been under an MOU with the vision to develop and enhance the global esports scene. The recent issue, however, is a phenomenon which is disturbing the order of the international sports society, which can lead to a threat for esports in becoming a true sport in the Asian region.
KeSPA would like to stress through this statement once more, that it will not take part in the 2017 AIMAG for esports in Turkmenistan, along with other national federations such as, China, Iran, Mongol and other Asian nations, who have dedicated their works to promote esport as a true sports in the Asian region. KeSPA would like to address and notify to the OCA for its official position concerning the current situation and also its support to resolve the issue in timely manner.
KeSPA, as the member of IeSF, will be collaborating with other Asian national federations to resolve the current issues together with the Secretariat of IeSF and will also be extending its sports diplomacy through the Korean Olympic Committee and Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism of the Korean Government to make it right for the esports people.