JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach isn’t certain if, or when, esports might be incorporated into the Olympic Games.
But he was clear in an interview with The Associated Press at the Asian Games on Saturday about the need to meet some conditions before being considered.
“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination,” he told the AP. “So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.”
Esports is being held for the first time at the Asian Games as a demonstration sport, and could be a full-medal event in four years in Hangzhou, China.
Could the Olympics be next?
The IOC has been mulling over many of these questions since holding an esports forum in July at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Bach still needs convincing. He won an Olympic gold medal in fencing, which uses swords, and tried to draw a distinction.
“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people,” he said. “But sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.”
Asian Games organizers several days ago expressed sympathy for victims of the deadly shooting at a video games tournament in a Florida shopping mall.
They faulted U.S. gun laws, not esports.
“But I think this is a bigger issue of gun control and access to guns,” said Kenneth Fok, president of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, following the shooting.
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