Alfons Hörmann, president of the Deutschen Olympischen Sportbundes (DOSB), the German Olympic Sports Confederation, proclaimed his opposition towards the inclusion of esports in the Olympics by saying it “does not exist.”
According to a report by Faz.net, Hörmann and the DOSB have remained firm in their stance against including esports in Olympic events, citing Hesse Interior and Sports Minister Peter Beuth as part of their decision.
“Esports does not exist. And it will not be included in the Olympic program,” said Hörmann.
Beuth has previously stated that he wants to “exterminate” the term “esports” because it has “nothing to do with sports.”
The minister even compared esports to knitting and playing the recorder as he expressed strong opposition to the German government providing support for esports programs in the country.
The DOSB’s proclamation on esports came during its New Year reception, and doubled down from Beuth’s previous statements in December.
Esports is not without support in the German government, however. Ralf-Rainer Klatt, the Vice Principal of Landessportbund Hessen, the umbrella organization of organized sports in the German state of Hesse, previously argued against Beuth that when the youth approach clubs and “say that [they] like to do esports as team sports, then that is something different than when the individual [is] alone with the console [or] computer.”
“You have to consider esports as [a] part of the digitization process of our society, which [has] just arrived in sports,” Klatt added.
Dorothee Bär, Germany’s State Minister for Digitization, also came out in support of esports in October last year, tweeting that “esport is sport.”
The International Olympic Committee has previously said that talk of esports being included in the Olympics is premature, with the portrayal of violence in esports and rapid technological changes cited among its biggest hurdles.
With that said, esports was still notably included in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games as a medal event.
Germany has long been one of the world’s major esports hotspots. The country notably hosted esports’ first-ever million-dollar event, Dota 2‘s The International, back in 2011. The European League of Legends Championship is hosted in Berlin as well. ESL, the world’s biggest esports organizer and production company, is likewise based in Germany.