“Is this really sports?” – these questions have been asked again and again by e-athletes and amateurs in recent years. And in fact, this is an excellent argument, because never before has the concept of sport been as diverse and open as it is today in British and global society. However, as ESBD we assume that eSport earns a permanent place in the European sports association and has its authorization there as well.

eSport: association definition

eSport is not a closed term that is self-explanatory in society. As a relatively young and generic digital sport, the eSport term is developing at a fast pace. But that does not mean you can not find basic eSports structures.

The ESBD as federation defined eSport in its statute as follows: “eSport is the sport-competing playing of video or computer games, in particular on computers and consoles, according to fixed rules.” In addition there are some core elements: the competition finds against human opponents Instead, it can be designed as an online competition or as a face-to-face competition and defines itself decisively via the motorized, precise operation of the input device (e.g. mouse, keyboard, controller, smartphone, etc.) in conjunction with the mastery of the rules and limitations imposed by the game that lead to the game goal. It can also be seen that eSport as a sport is a collection of different disciplines that depict each video or computer game being played.

But the discussion of what constitutes eSport, and where it is to be distinguished from gaming and other forms of video games, is one that we, as an association, want to continue to lead.

Sports in Europe

It is also not easy to answer what makes a sport into a sport – there is no procedure in which a stamp on the application marks the end of the debate at the end. Rather, the concept of recognition in Europe consists of a complex system: the state decides on benefits (such as non-tax charitable status) and regulations (as in the case of foreign professional athletes and trainers) and must also consider judicial decisions; the umbrella organizations of sport in federal and state governments take on the professional sports associations and award funds and decide on regulations; Finally, the social discourse determines whether a majority is accepted as a sport or remains as a purely public event.

Each level has its own definitional characteristics: the DOSB requires “own, sport-determining motor activity” as a fundamental element of a sport, to add basic sporting values. The application decree on the tax code, which determines the criteria of sport in the field of charitable law, sees the “physical training” as an “essential element”. The groundbreaking decision on the Tournament Bridge (BFH v. 9.2.17 – V R 70/14) has also opened up the notion of public utility for the criteria of competitive design, popular sports-like organization and consequently a positive effect for the general public.

eSport is sport

If you take a closer look at the different criteria, you will find that eSport is a sport. The “sport-determining motor activity” is ensured by the operation of the input devices in all forms of eSports; Tournaments and leagues take place according to recognized sporting values ​​such as fairness, respect and tolerance, and demonstrate the integrity of the sport through their rules systems where programming does not dictate the game. Physical training has also been scientifically ascertainable: the Sport University of Cologne has been researching this area for years and notes that the burden of self-motor activity in eSports goes beyond that of other sports; also the stress level lies in the comparable range to the motorsport. “From my point of view, eSport is at least equal to, if not superior to, other sports,”  Prof. Froböse says.

In doing so, eSport can find the connection to modern sports discourse, which focuses on the operation of technical devices. Looking at eSports, “physical effort goes beyond what is common today for human activities, even though the physical effort is not as obvious as in many other sports, e.g. in the disciplines of athletics “and furthermore” body control – e.g. in terms of perceptiveness, speed of reaction, fine motor skills, which as a rule can only be attained and maintained through training. ” These quotes are taken from the criteria of the sport term of the judgment of the Federal Fiscal Court on the charitable status of Motorsport published in 1998.

To recognize eSport as an independent sport in the performance of its athletes and in the high degree of organization of the competitive structure does not seem comprehensible against this background. As ESBD we are committed to a legal, political and social recognition of eSport as a sport in the European sports system. This includes charity, facilitating entry and promoting amateur eSports.

History of eSport

ESport has been employing the issue of recognition for two decades. The developments in South Korea, where eSport has been integrated into the state landscape since 2000, have also raised the desire for recognition in European countries. But only in recent years and months has there been a change of climate in politics and associations. From a skeptical attitude to open rejection, there has been a shift in the discourse at eye level. The discussion has since been conducted with scientific evidence and factual arguments and has been developing at a significant pace for several months.

On the political level, in the election year of 2017, several parties in their election programs commented positively on eSport and sought dialogue. The highlight of the political commitment to eSport was the agreement of the coalition agreement in February 2018, in which the CDU / CSU and SPD made the following wording for the government program: “We recognize the growing importance of the eSports landscape in UK. As eSport trains key skills that are not only important in the digital world, training and sports structures, we will in the future fully recognize eSport as a separate sport with association and association rights and help create an Olympic perspective.”

The sports associations are also looking for a constructive approach to eSport. In November 2017, the DOSB announced the establishment of a working group to evaluate eSport. Specialist sports associations, youth groups and national organizations have also started the respective opinion-forming process at numerous specialist events.

Last but not least, the establishment of the our website has also fulfilled an important precondition for integration into the European sports society on the eSport landscape. The eSport also has to deal with the demands of traditional sports and find a self-critical approach to its structures and priorities. As the nationwide sports federation of eSports, the ESBD offers a platform that accompanies changes and challenges while preserving the fascination and the sporting core of eSports.