Esports will not be added to Olympics because 'killer games are too violent' says IOC president Thomas Bach

Bach says that violent egames do not fall in line with ‘Olympic values’ while the recent shooting at an esports tournament in Florida has not helped its case for inclusion

The first-ever Overwatch League eSports grand final

The International Olympic Committee will not consider adding esports to a future Olympics because they are “too violent”, president Thomas Bach has said.

The recent Asian Games saw esports included for the first time in its history, and with an apparent global audience of 320m people, it has gained serious traction to the point that inclusion in the Olympics does not seem so farfetched.

But the IOC’s president has played down that prospect, and drawn on the type of games that are currently available within esports as his main reason for not allowing it to be considered.

“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,” Bach told AP when appearing at the Asian Games last week.

Its inclusion in the Asian Games is only as a demonstration sport this time around, though there are grounds for it to be a full-medal event in four years’ time at Hangzhou in China.

Bach won an Olympic gold medal himself when competing in fencing at Montreal 1976, but while he accepted that combat sports do have a place at the Olympics, he expressed concern about how they meet what the Games stands for.

Thomas Bach has played down the chances of esports being added to the Olympics

“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people,” he added. “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.”

Esports were included at the Asian Games for the first time
Esports finals winners team China after their win over South Korea at the Asian Games 2018

The case to include esports has not been helped by the recent shooting in the United States at a video games tournament in a Florida shopping centre, where three people including the shooter died and 10 others were injured.

Organisers of the Asian Games expressed their sympathy for the victims, but the head of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, Kenneth Fok, blamed the US’s gun laws and not the impact of esports on the shooter, saying: “I think this is a bigger issue of gun control and access to guns.”

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