Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympics Committee, has restated his affirmation that esports will have no place at the Olympic Games if it features violence or any form of discrimination, as it would impeach ‘Olympic values’.
Bach has been somewhat attentive to requests to have esports feature at the Olympics, but remains cautious about their possible inclusion.
He has previously made clear that violent games – which many of the most popular esports titles (CS:GO, LoL, CoD, Overwatch, Battle Royale games etc.) could be considered to be – would have no place in an Olympic setting.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, published on September 1, Bach has doubled down on this once again, saying:
“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination.
So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.”
However, esports will feature at the Asian Games as a ‘demonstration’ event, with a view to becoming a full medal event at the Olympics in the future.
But, it seems Bach himself will still need some convincing that many of the popular esports games are suitable.
Bach was an Olympic level fencer, for which he won a Gold Medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Despite the use of a sword in fencing, and other combat sports such as Judo and Boxing which have been integral events at the Olympics for decades, Bach explains that there is a difference between this and the violence in certain video games.
“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people, 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.”
Following the shooting at a Madden esports tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, hosts of the Asian Games pointed to the issue being US gun laws and not games themselves.
After all, Madden is an NFL simulator – not a violent game in any sense.
The next Olympic Games following 2020 will be Paris 2024, and France as a nation has been supportive of esports. Paris Saint Germain, the biggest sports club in Paris, has their own esports teams in League of Legends and Dota2.