AESF Lobbies for Inclusion of Esports in 2021 SEA Games

The Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) is currently seeking support to include esports as a medal event in the 2021 SEA Games. AESF President Sebastian Lau has written to the National Electronic Sports Federation of the Philippines (NESF) and appealed to the Philippines Olympic Committee (POC) to include esports in the games. In a letter to the NESF, Lau wrote, “We found out the news that Vietnam has not included esports as one of the official games, and currently it is in a process where the participating countries can send an appeal to the host country.” The AESF has 45 member countries, including the 11 countries that are a part of the SEA Games Federation. 

In 2019, esports was a part of the SEA Games in Manila, with the inclusion of six titles – Dota 2, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, TEKKEN 7, Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. In 2024, esports will also be a part of the Paris Olympics, but only as a demonstration event. SEA Games is a biennial event and will take place in 2021, with Vietnam as the host nation. The host nation has released a list of 36 sports that will be a part of the event, which does not include esports. While the 2019 edition included 56 titles, Vietnam has said that the reason for the lower number of events is the reduced budget brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NESFP President Ramon Suzara was hopeful about the inclusion of esports in the 2021 SEA Games. POC President Abraham Tolentino has also said that he would be lobbying for the inclusion of more events at the event.

Shounak Sengupta is a staff writer for AFK Gaming.