Esport and the concept of sport – let it stay

Yesterday the hearing took place in the sports committee of the Bundestag and with a few exceptions no one really wanted to follow the demands of the ESBD and move towards recognizing esport as a sport. A mixture of ignorance, blindness and, certainly, also good lobbying of the DOSB, which wants to protect its own interests, leads to statements like this from the SPD

Today’s hearing of the Sports Committee highlighted the dynamics and developments of eSports in Germany. This includes the recognition that, with a few exceptions, eSports does not meet the requirements of a sport.

I can only repeat my statement from the last year:Stop running after the DOSB.

As honourable as I find the commitment of the ESBD and its stakeholders, I continue to believe that the strategy of getting to the bottom of the concept of sport as such with opinions, hearings and other PR is flawed. This will not work in a political environment that is not determined by digitized politicians, nor in a world controlled by sports lobbyists. Much more will be left to those involved, especially such committed people as Hans Jagnow of the ESBD, whose personal commitment is to be explicitly praised, will eventually run out of steam. We will achieve something meaningful, at least not in the next few months, probably not in the next few years. One will rush from one political defeat to another, enjoy positive reports such as on Spiegel Online and in the end will have to accept an actual breach of the coalition agreement between the SPD and the CDU, which explicitly states that one will recognize esport as a separate sport. In the worst case, esport will end up being damaged.

I think the train has left. The esports industry should stop discussing terminology and say goodbye to the need for classical sport. I have already rejected this here and here. I maintain that classic sport will need much more esport or digitalisation in order to keep its own user group in the long term. But the sport or its officials have to realize this for themselves. You can’t indoctrinate them.

How about convincing stakeholders instead that the concept of sport as such is not important, the DOSB can happily keep. Legal and political equality is important. Then esport is included in section 52 AO Esport as an independent offence. The fact that e-sports clubs in the broad segment can also do something good for young people and politics is well recognised, and therefore there are also some clubs that can rely on youth development. In the end, the concept of sport was lost (and no one in the industry will be sad about it!) but won legal equality. The same applies to other standards which, among other things, rely on the concept of sport, such as rules on the issuance of visas or the placement of athletes. Here, too, there is certainly legal progress, from authorities and institutions that do not necessarily need a ‘YES’ from dying people’s parties.

Other objectives and equal rights could possibly also be achieved by consistent application of the law, for example by reference to Article 3 of the Basic Law and the corresponding case law. However, perhaps this will require legal proceedings…

How about discussing such a topic at the upcoming German Esport Summit? Personally, I am satisfied with the procedure of applying consistent existing law and convincing the policy to a minimum consensus, which may bring benefits to the parties involved, better than to continue to run with their heads against walls on a regular basis.

I would find a discussion about this exciting.

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