A new organization centred on Europe’s esports scene has leapt out of Brussels, Belgium. Launched just a few days ago on February 21, Esports Europe – The European Esports Federation (EEF) purportedly represents “100 million gamers”.
Here’s what we’ve gathered about them so far.
Their Goals and Values
In addition to their claim of representing over 100 million gamers, the EEF brings together various national associations (23) and esports stakeholders (three) from across Europe, as well as esport teams and players of varying skills. The organization’s aim, according to their website, is to develop a “unified representation, a strong vision for digital communities and a platform for its member to develop esports even further”.
The EEF also hopes to create a healthy and effective esports scene, saying that it will promote “conscious, responsible, sustainable, inclusive, healthy and value-based development”. In addition, they noted that the organization shares the European Union’s “values of solidarity and freedom”.
“Like no other sports movement, esports is benefitting from an open Europe in a free and peaceful world”, they wrote.
Five names were revealed on the EEF’s website. Aside from first President Hans Jagnow from Germany and Vice President Karol Cagáň from Slovakia, they were board members Emin Antonyan from Russia, Ido Brosh from Israel, and Alper Özdemir from Turkey.
Israel’s representation seems odd given that it is a Middle Eastern country, but without delving into the full history of things, it’s worth noting that Israel is also competing in the UEFA European Qualifiers.
As for who these people are, Jagnow is also the president of eSport-Bund Deutschland (ESBD), the German esports federation. In September 2019, the organization welcomed the German government’s plans to allow non-EU esports athletes to enter the country under the same rules for sports athletes.
“The draft of the new regulation is good for the players, teams and the German esports location. International tournaments and leagues hosted in Germany would have a significant advantage”, Jagnow had said. “After we had a first step in the right direction with last year’s ruling providing short-term sports visa for esports athletes up to 90 days, this would now bring us complete equality of esports and sports in terms of visa law in Germany.”
Meanwhile, Cagáň is also the president of the Slovak E-sport Association. According to a 2019 interview in game-centric scientific journal Acta Ludogica, the then-24-year-old was elected to the post in November 2018. He had helped to establish the organization, and is also a partner for Yvents, an event agency that hosted “the two biggest esports events in Slovakia”.
In the interview, Cagáň told Acta Ludogica that people had doubts about his association at first. “But luckily right now, the official organisers who host tournaments and do have legal form, are by a large margin members of the Slovak Esports Association,” he revealed. “Now even almost all teams that have legal form are members as well.”
For Antonyan, an article by the Esports Observer names him as “the secretary general and chairman of the executive board for the Russian Esports Federation”. The article wrote that he was “in favor of esports complementing sports and vice versa”. “What I am saying is that we are not competing; we should take the best from each other and work for the good of fans and athletes,” Antonyan was quoted as saying.
Brosh is the Israeli Esports Association’s president and was elected as a board member of the International Esports Federation last December, according to his Instagram post. When it was announced that Israel would host the 12th Esports World Championship, Brosh told Ynet that “we’ve been working on it for six months, collaborating with the Maccabi Sports Organization, the Prime Minister’s Office and Eilat municipality. After seven years of trying, Israel will finally host the most important gaming competition in the world”. In the same article, he also addressed the issue the venue presented in regards to countries like Iran and Indonesia.
Finally, Özdemir is the chairman of the Turkish Esports Federation. In an interview with Daily Sabah, he said that “we want to make Turkey the centre of esports in the world. This sector has great potential throughout the world.
“For instance, League of Legends finals are just below the NFL’s Superbowl in ratings, which is the most viewed sports competition in the world. So, we thought why not Turkey?”
The EEF isn’t the only such organization to have emerged recently. Nico Besombes, an associate professor in Sport Sciences from the University of Paris, tweeted that the last few months saw the forming of ISFE Esports and the Global Esports Federation.
The last few months have seen several unifying bodies for esports emerge: #ISFEEsports & @GE_Federation in particular.
Today, it's a gathering at the European level that is emerging: @esportsineurope!
On this occasion, I updated the census of all the (inter)national initiatives! https://t.co/gREoiYhXhq pic.twitter.com/nM4JUt0v05
— Nico Besombes (@NicoBesombes) February 20, 2020
The ISFE, which represents “the interests of video game publishers in Europe” and is also based in Brussels, announced ISFE Esports last September. As reported by Esports Insider, its principal members include notable names like “Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, EA, Supercell, Twitch, Riot Games, Epic Games, ESL, and Ukie”.
Meanwhile, the Global Esports Federation launched with Tencent as its founding global partner. It proclaimed to be the “first-ever global governing body for the esports ecosystem of athletes, sports organisations, commercial partners, and other constituents, guided by the values of sport and the principle of harnessing technology and innovation for good”. One of its five objectives was to “create, develop, and stage the annual flagship Global Esports Games, with the first Games to be staged in 2020”.
The EEF’s Partners
The EEF doesn’t have a written list of partners provided, but its website shows the logos of multiple brands. These include ESL, ESforce Holding, the British Esports Association, the Hungarian Esports Federation, Esports Association Polska, the Belarusian Esports Federation, and more.
While we can’t say that we’re familiar with the names involved with the EEF, their respective backgrounds definitely show that they have interest and experience in the esports field at least. We’ll keep an eye out for what the organization does next and whether it’d turn into a recognizable esports name in the future… or not.