In a huge development in the Philippine sports scene in general, e-sports athletes can now be treated like their traditional sports counterparts.
The players from TNC and Execration received professional athlete licenses from GAB less than two weeks before they head to Seattle for The International 7, DOTA 2’s most prestigious tournament.
TNC manager Paulo Sy revealed the news during the press conference of the club’s renewed partnership with Malaysian-based e-sports company Syber at the High Grounds Café on Tuesday.
“It’s a very big step for Philippine e-sports because TNC and Execration have been there for the longest time, and they have been representing the Philippines in various international events,” Sy said.
A GAB license is needed for professional basketball players, footballers, pugilists, and now e-sports gamers for them to compete.
Sy, however, clarified, “[The application is] still going to be the same process as applying as a professional boxer. There will be criteria that need to be met for you to become accredited as a professional e-sports player.”
Asked by PNA for further information, GAB chairman Baham Mitra vowed that his office would give the e-sports athletes the support they needed for their upcoming competitions.
“Whether in international, mainstream or local tournaments, GAB will play its role, not only to regulate but also to assist the gamers in any way we can. That is our mission here in GAB,” said Mitra.
The former Palawan governor also sees the giving of licenses to gamers as a means of protecting their rights as athletes.
“There are so many areas of concern, including protection of the health and welfare of the gamers and enforcement of the responsibilities of organizers to the gamers, the public and the government. We also have to protect the integrity of the games and prevent game-fixing, fraud and possible breach of contracts that could leave our local players at a disadvantage,” Mitra listed down the main purposes of the licensing to e-sports athletes.
He then added, “We expect to come up with more specific, responsive, in-depth and relevant supervision and regulation for e-sports. We are trying to catch up on this and we will consult with stakeholders not only to bring us up to speed but also to enlist their cooperation.”
Mitra also bared that it was actually the PCOO that raised the matter about e-sports athletes to GAB, setting up a meeting with him and representatives from TNC and Execration that led to the groundbreaking licensing.