Bizarre phrase from Olympic Federation president – apparently ‘esports doesn’t exist’

There’s lots of things we don’t know for sure about. They may exist, they may not. There’s bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and things like aliens. Mostly, the reason we don’t know if they exist or not is related to whether or not there is proof of their existence.

Needless to say, as pretty much anyone and everyone knows, esports do in fact exist because we’ve all seen them. We can go and look at them any second of any day, and have a choice of dozens of different ones, hundreds of competitions and thousands of players if not more.

So, given that, how can it be that Alfons Hoermann, the president of the Deutscher Olympischer Sportsbund (DOSB) thinks that esports don’t exist? Well, that is an excellent question. The background to all of this is the ongoing debate about whether or not esports should become part of the Olympics – naturally, fans think they should, while plenty of critics think otherwise.


© dpa

Needless to say, Alfons is one of the latter. He and his organisation are firmly against including esports in the Olympic games. Now, leaving aside whether or not they should in fact be included, the exact quote given was: “Esports does not exist. And it will not be included in the Olympic program.

Given that there is a billion-dollar industry that clearly proves that they do in fact exist, this whole thing is a little bizarre – however, as far as esports-opposition goes, there is actually worse. Also from Germany, Sports Minister Peter Beuth took it one step further in a less than classy statement: “Esports are as little sport as knitting and recorder play. We must not allow the e-gaming industry to collect these sports assets. The idea that the e-gaming industry is vying for funding, I think is absurd.

Not that things like knitting or playing an instrument don’t also require skill, but the top esports players of the world are likely less than impressed by statements like that – especially German ones. Germany has, in fact, played a big role in esports before – to name just one example, Dota 2’s International (the first one) was held in Germany, and it was the very first million-dollar event in the history of esports.

Unsurprisingly, the esports world in general is anything but impressed with these two gentlemen, and even other German ministers have spoken out in favour of esports. Dorothee Baer, the Minister for Digitization tweeted that ‘esport is sport’, and several prominent members of German sports organisations and the like have also been quick to disagree with the ridiculous claim that esports ‘don’t exist’.

The only question that remains without an answer is whether or not esports will eventually find their way into the Olympics. If so, it won’t be in the next ones, but the ones after that are a distinct possibility… and until then, hopefully someone invites Alfons Hoermann to an esports tournament – one of the dozens every year in Germany for example – in order to convince him that esports, unlike yetis, are in fact real.