An interministerial « national plan » to develop esports

Many major players in French esports met this Monday in Paris, around several ministers including Amélie Oudéa-Castéra (Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games), in order to present a national strategy for the development and structuring of practice.

 » A point of acceleration « . This is how Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, described the meeting, this Monday morning in Paris, of many players in esports but also French sport (CNOSF, CIO) and several representatives politicians from different backgrounds, including three ministries. A morning of discussions to summarize and present the national plan for the development and structuring of the discipline, within the framework of the “2020-2025 esports strategy” initiated almost three years ago, but quite frozen since.

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In recent weeks, several discussion groups have been organized with representatives of the community around a certain number of objectives (structuring the ecosystem, support for amateur practices, removing the obstacles to the development of the practice, hosting major events, Olympic Esports Week) to define the outlines of a roadmap. Sometimes a little hasty according to some participants, they nevertheless symbolize the government’s desire for action in the wake of Emmanuel Macron’s announcements last June during the reception for esports at the Élysée. Following the last exchanges on Monday, the plan presented will revolve around four key points.

Will the visa issue soon be settled?First, the creation in the medium term of a national structure, whose legal form must be defined, which will pilot this national strategy (development, supervision, training, etc.) by integrating all the players in the area. If the France Esports association has taken on a comparable role since its establishment in 2016, it has often come up against multiple obstacles: the difficulty of uniting, of navigating with limited resources, of asserting legitimacy… Very invested in exchanges, it should have a place in this new structure which is intended to be more global.

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Promoting the development of the practice in the territories, in particular at the amateur level to educate in a responsible practice of the discipline, will be another focus. Just like the strengthening of France’s attractiveness and dynamism in the sector, which includes hosting major events such as the next Major de counter strike in May. The publication  » an interministerial instruction allowing the use of the talent passport for high-level sportspeople was also announced. Enough to facilitate the obtaining of visas for certain foreign players, a concrete step forward expected for years by French professional clubs including Karmine Corp, Vitality or LDLC OL, all represented on Monday.

Finally, France wants to host and participate in the success of Olympic Esports Week, an event organized by the International Olympic Committee, the first edition of which will be held in Singapore in June 2023. The event will bring together « virtual sports » competitions (cycling , sailing, motor sports…) and exhibition of games which find, beyond the practitioners, a larger public of spectators within electronic sport – Rocket League Where Super Smash Bros Ultimate have been mentioned.

In 2024, after the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, it should therefore be held in the capital at the end of the year and mark a post-2023 evolution with a greater place offered to “popular” esports. Matthieu Péché, manager of the Vitality team on counter strikeand bronze medalist in Rio in 2016 in the C2 canoe, will be involved in the coordination of the project.

A long-awaited sequelAccompanying talents towards professionalism, raising awareness of good practices to avoid excesses (lack of sports practice, dropping out of school), the acceptance of esport as a vocation, its consideration, the creation of a pro player contract, facilitating the process of obtaining a visa… These themes have come up like boomerangs at regular intervals in recent years in the discussions between the players in the field and the successive representatives of the various public authorities in place. However, things are moving slowly.

So what will change this time? The file seems to be taken seriously by the various ministries concerned – Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate in charge of the Digital Transition and Telecommunications, were present on Monday, Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture, is also involved in the exchanges – and their coordination gives more weight to this step forward. The impulse also seems new and thus more stimulating for some. A budget envelope will also, for the first time, be dedicated to the sector.

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Still, the involvement of game publishers, despite the presence of the SELL (Union of Leisure Software Publishers), essential, still seems distant. We also regret the almost total absence of players. But France seems to take the measure of the work to be done in the field to bring change to the European level. This meeting on Monday, certainly positive, is therefore a point of acceleration. The sequel is expected.

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