Ukraine Recognizes Esports as an Official Sport

The Commission for the Recognition of Sports of the Ukrainian Ministry for Youth and Sports recognized esports as an official sport. Two Ukrainian esports associations lobbied for the recognition as a sport: the Ukrainian Esports Federation (UESF), which filed submitted the relevant documents to recognize esports as an official sport with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Ukrainian Professional Cybersport Association (UPEA).

“We cannot ignore this phenomenon because esports is developing very fast all over the world. Audience interest is growing every month as is the involvement of our population,” explained Ukraine’s Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Gutzayt about the decision in a release. “We want our children, who are already at the computer most of the time, not to become addicted to gaming, but to be able to turn their hobby into an intellectual competition.”

According to the UESF, the organization had been working on the recognition of esports as a sport for more than one year in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the International Esports Federation (IESF), and its regional offices. The UESF, which is a member of the IESF, was created in 2018 and is active in lobbying esports and organizing events and tournaments. The organization is the unofficial successor of the 2003-founded Ukrainian Federation of Cyber Sport (FCSU), which has been inactive since 2017. 

In August, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Oleh Nemchinov, the previous Minister of Youth and Sports, met with UPEA’s founder Alexander Kokhanovskyy and its COO Oleh Rybalka to talk about the status of an official sport for esports and long-term investment strategies into the Ukrainian esports infrastructure. Kokhanovskyy, who also founded Ukrainian esports organization Natus Vincere and esports infrastructure platform DreamTeam, recently purchased the Dnipro Hotel in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv for ₴1.1B UAH ($39.5M USD) to turn it into an “Esports Ready Hotel” as part of a larger esports development project in the city.

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