“Esports without a doubt can be considered sports.” Those are the words of the Polish president, Andrzej Duda. At a conference where eight Polish FIFA representatives were introduced to take part in the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 by the president himself, he also gave a speech on why he thinks that esports could very well be counted as a sport. Various Polish sources have reported on this including cybersport.pl and TVP.info, and being a fluent Polish speaker myself, I have translated relevant sections for the Daily Esports audience.
The head of Poland seemed ecstatic about the select FIFA players competing on an international stage under the Polish colors at FIFA eWorld Cup. He claimed, “Young people, who are among the world’s best in something that is very modern today, is very important. It’s personal development but also a technical development on a world level.”
The president then moved onto a trending topic of whether esports could be counted as a sport. There have been rumors and debates over whether esports could, and should be, part of the Olympic games. Here’s what Andrzej Duda had to say on the matter:
Can we say that an esport is a sport? If we are allowed to claim that chess is a sport, if we can claim that bridge is a sport, then an esport, which tremendously develops manual skills and reflexes of a player, without a doubt can be considered a sport.
He then later added:
I can confidently say that especially FIFA, where you play football online or on a console, is a non-controversial video game. There’s no controversy here; there are not any elements that could be seen as negative. I am therefore happy that it is this discipline that we will be promoting, especially that football is something that is very close to a lot of boys in Poland.
Despite speaking highly of esports, the president did stress that FIFA is a safe game to support. It may have to do with age restrictions on certain titles such as CS:GO where the age rating is 16 or 18 depending on the country. FIFA, being a sports game, is rated E for “Everyone” by ESRB and 3+ by PEGI. We have not heard any arguments for other titles from the head of Poland, but it does seem that if age restrictions are obeyed, he would be willing to support other titles as well.
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