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Esports, the European Parliament approves the resolution on their recognition

The resolution recognizing the value of the eSports and the entire gaming industry was approved last November 10th by the European Parliament
With 560 votes in favour, 34 against and 16 abstentions, on November 10, 2022 the European Parliament approved the resolution that recognizes the value of esports and the entire videogame industry, recommending a "long-term strategy to support and encourage the sector". The process began on November 8, 2021 in the European Parliament with the "Report on EU sports policy: evaluation and possible ways forward". Under the heading "Supporting the transition to a sustainable and innovative future", paragraph 92 stated that "The European Parliament invites the EU institutions to initiate a debate on the future and opportunities of e-sports and to collect data in order to evaluate this sector and present a study on its social and economic impact”. Subsequently, the Commission for Culture and Education (CULT) commissioned Dr. Tobias M. Scholz and Nepomuk Nothelfer to prepare the study, which was to lay the foundations for the parliamentary process over the next twelve months. In addition, the Commission has also awarded a “Policy Recommendation”. The purpose of these publications and of the consultation up to the vote in Parliament was to accompany the political work at European level and, in particular, to prepare the "Draft Report on E-sports and video games" (rapporteur Laurence Farreng). Both the "Background Analysis on Esports" and the "Policy Recommendation on Esports" were presented on March 9, 2022 and published in May 2022. After the discussion, approval in Parliament was finally reached last November 11th. With this Resolution, the European Parliament states that, due to the boundless nature of the discipline on the subject, the European Union is the appropriate level to face the challenges of eSports and, moreover, asks the Commission to study the possibility of creating guidelines consistent and comprehensive information on the status of professional eSports players and invites the Member States and the Commission to consider the creation of a visa for eSports personnel based on Schengen cultural and sporting visas applicable to all personnel involved in esports competitions eSport and to consider measures to facilitate visa procedures to allow video game workers to come to the EU. The European Parliament itself, however, taking into account the innovative and in any case cultural value of this sector, the still lack of data, definitions and harmonized legal frameworks necessary to allow the full exploitation of their potential, the fact that video games and eSports use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality and have started the creation of alternative virtual spaces such as metaverses,  that the definition of eSports includes a human element (the players), a digital element (the games themselves) and an competitive, believes that eSports differ from sports in that eSports are digital by definition, they are a phenomenon essentially driven by private entities with intellectual property rights belonging to the game publisher and competition rights to the game publisher or agreed upon contract by contract, they are played in a digital environment and belong to pr subjects private individuals who enjoy full legal control and all exclusive and unrestricted rights to the video games themselves. The Resolution, however, underlines that Sport and eSports can integrate and learn from each other and promote similar positive values ​​and skills, such as fair play, non-discrimination, teamwork, leadership, solidarity, integrity , anti-racism, social inclusion and gender equality. Furthermore, the European Parliament recognizes the need to safeguard eSports from problems of match-fixing, illegal gambling and doping and to educate players on these issues, as well as to protect the integrity of competitions. The approved Resolution then invites the Commission to explore the synergies between the video game sector and its innovation strategy, particularly in the context of research on the metaverse and keeping in mind the protection of data privacy and the challenges of cybersecurity, without losing the phenomenon of eSports and to develop a charter to promote European values ​​in eSports competitions, in collaboration with publishers, team organizations, clubs and tournament organizers. Finally, the European Parliament points out that video games and eSports have a dual role to play in the green transition, both as an increasingly environmentally friendly industry and as a means of raising awareness of climate and environmental issues among video game players and highlights the important role cities and regions can play in providing access to infrastructure that can host esports events or facilitate access to video games for all. In conclusion, this is a historic stage at the end of the 12-month journey, which at the same time represents an important international recognition of the entire videogame industry, including esports, also financially: in fact, if up to now the funding was limited only to national video game production companies, for example through the Creative Europe and Horizon Europe programmes, with the next steps the funds and the number of beneficiaries could be increased, including operators in the esports sector. In the coming months, it will be up to the European legislator to follow the words of the Parliament with actions in order to support a healthy and successful development of eSports in Europe.