frefGerman politician and State Minister of the Interior and for Sports of Hesse Peter Beuth, says that he wants to “exterminate” the term “esports” because it has “nothing to do with sports.”
According to the Spiel Times, Beuth made his statement in a speech to the participants of the gymnastics and sports congress in Darmstadt, Germany.
“Esports have nothing to do with sports. We need to exterminate that term. I’m not sure yet how moving the thumb and forefinger is supposed to be a sport, even if there’s something moving on the screen,” said Beuth.
He made his statement in light of the ruling coalition in Germany having plans to acknowledge esports in the union that will allow esports athletes and organisations to benefit from certain association rights. Should these rights be granted, esports clubs can be established with welfare and benefits covered by German law.
Beuth has opposed the plan and referred to it as “catastrophic.” The politician argued that esports tournaments are not played by the rule of traditional sports associations but that of “American companies.”
“This congress is about education and health. We want to get the kids into the gym and into the field. Gaming has its value. But it does not belong in a sports organization as such because it adorns itself with a title whose values I miss there,” added Beuth.
Meanwhile, Ralf-Rainer Klatt, the Vice Principal of Landessportbund Hessen, the umbrella organization of organized sports in the German state of Hesse, defended the motion. He argued 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.
Germany has been a mainstay of the global esports industry for a long time now, with the Electronic Sports League (ESL), the biggest and oldest operating esports company, based in Cologne.
ESL regularly hosts tournaments for different esports titles, such as Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, in its home city of Cologne as well as others in Germany, including Hamburg.
The global fast-food giant McDonald’s even dropped a pre-existing sponsorship deal with the German Football Association (DFB) to instead partner with ESL Meisterschaft, ESL’s national esports championship in Germany.