European Esports Federation Unites 12 EU States on Gaming
The European Esports Federation (EEF) announced a draft document to build a pan-European Esports federation. The federation united 12 European nations at the time of the announced.
France, Germany, The United Kingdom, Russia, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Ukraine, Serbia, Slovenia, and Sweden agreed to join the European Esports Federation.
The groups met at the European Esports Meeting Berlin 2019 (EEMB19), which the German Esports Federation ESBD organized for April 10. In all, 15 federations sent representatives, while 12 groups agreed in principle to form an esports partnership.
The April 10th meeting is the third in a series of key events leading to the European Esports Federation. The EEMB19 follows in the spirit of the first IOC Esports Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland in July 2018. The Lausanne conference in turn led to a follow-up esports conference held the Paris, France, in January 2019.
The Berlin Declaration
Though 12 of the 15 federations agreed to further discussion of a united front, the prospective member state have not signed the “Berlin Declaration” yet. Still, the European Esports Federation seeks to promote esports competition throughout the European Union and has 44% of the member states verbally committed to the partnership.
For the time being, the EEF plans to serve as a “moderating partner” instead of the industry’s governing body in those 12 nations, according to the Esports Observer.
Esports Groups Attended Conference
Representatives of the twelve national esports federations attended a conference to discuss an EU-spanning group. Several esports organizations also sent representatives, including ESL, Freaks 4U Gaming, and StarLadder.
The German Games Industry Association sent representatives, while the Interactive Software Federation of Europe attended the meeting. The rhetoric at the conference soared at times.
Criticisms of European Esports Federation
As one might expect, the esports community is not united on the idea of an EU esports federation. Critics content the EEF has no connection to publisher and tournament hosts. The EEF also takes a regional approach instead of a game-based approach to organization.
The key issue might be the federation’s lack of real influence. If the EEF does not have sanctioning authority and it does not organize events, it is hard to see what niche it will fill.
Jagnow: “Commitment from Esports a Strong Sign”
Hans Jagnow, the German Esports Federation (ESDB) president, does not see it that way. Jagnow said that the federation sends a message that European gamers are united, even if there is dissension in the wider political sphere. If 12 regional federations come together in a spirit of cooperation, then the wider organization has legitimacy.
If those federations also communicates with independent esports organizations and industry associations, many points of business get done at a conference. Hans Jagow told Esports Insider that the esports community must send a message to the people of Europe about community. Jagnow told the esports media, “In times like these, we feel that the idea of Europe is a fragile one. A commitment from esports is a strong sign: Europe is the future for many young people.”
“Like no other sports movement esports profits from the freedoms the European Union provides. The Berlin Declaration puts an emphasis on that identity. Following up on the development of grassroots esports on the national level, coming together as a European federation is the next big step. As ESBD, we want Europe to become the model region for structuring esports on an international level.”
Is EEF Helpful to Professional Esports Players?
The president of the German Esports Federation isn’t simply spouting high-flown rhetoric. Good reasons exist to organize. The EEF could help professional video game players to overcome bureaucratic delays in securing visas, especially if they come from outside the EU nations.
Also, the EEF could mitigate disputes between regional authorities. For instance, France has two groups with two very different visions for French esports, FFJV and France Esports.
While the European Esports Federation’s oversight of the industry right now is pro-forma, it doesn’t always have to be. The recent conference is a start, not an end unto itself. If the EEF serves a useful purpose for the esports professionals of Europe, then it has a future.
Individual Esports Federations
An overarching esports federation might not make sense in the end. Others have pointed out that individual esports games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS:GO each have their own federation, because each esport has its own problems and concerns.
One generic federation might not address those issues adequately. With that in mind, the coming months will see whether the European Esports Federation (EEF) fills a valid role. Dozens upon dozens of esports-affiliated leaders and industry officials came together to give the EFF a start. It’s time to see whether such an effeort was necessary.