Esports officially recognized by Ukrainian goverment

In addition to the golden dome of St. Michael's church, Kiev in the Ukraine is known for ESports. Photo Wikimedia Commons/Michal Huniewicz

Something repeated ad nauseam by those who don’t play them is that esports are not really sports. And by extension, those who excel at Call of Duty or Overwatch aren’t really athletes. You won’t be hearing that in the Ukraine moving forward. Esports are now recognized by Ukrainian government.

However, today the country officially recognized esports as a legitimate form of sporting competition. The rubber stamp comes at a meeting of the government’s commission for the recognition of sports.

In officially embracing esports, Ukrainian Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Gutzayt issued the following statement.

Esports now recognized by Ukrainian government

“We cannot ignore this phenomenon, because e-sports is developing very fast all over the world. Audience interest is growing every month. As is the involvement of our population. We want our children, who are already at the computer most of the time, not to become addicted to gaming. But to have the opportunity to turn their hobby into an intellectual competition. And we must promote this, as the most developed countries do.”

Indeed, he added that esports has taken off in countries around the world. But things are different now. Esports are now recognized by Ukrainian government

Lobbying sealed the deal

The support didn’t come out of nowhere. The Ukrainian Esports Federation and the Ukrainian Professional Cybersport Association both lobbied the government for official recognition.

The Ukraine is one of countless countries across the world where esports has flourished. Futhermore, last month Oleksandr Kokhanovsky—co-founder of the Ukrainian multi-gaming e-sports organization Natus Vincere (NAVI)—purchased the massive Dnipro hotel in downtown Kiev. His goal is to turn it into into an e-sports venue.

In announcing the purchase, he posted on Facebook:

“We will turn it into the first hotel in the world fully prepared for e-sports events. It will include not only the attributes of a top hotel (restaurants, bars, SPA zones, and fitness centers). But also unique e-sports elements: training zones, an e-sports stage, special rooms for professional players. As well as the world’s best players’ lounge.”

Furthermore, there are benefits for being recognized as a sport by the Ukrainian government. That includes financial support for esports athletes, infrastructure, and esports organizations.

Mike Usinger once took the better part of two years to finish Grand Theft Auto. Over the course of his career he has written about everything from eSports to music to movies to travel.

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