Update: After the outcry over this decision,ieSF, after an emergency meeting has made the previous male-only tournaments mentioned above open all competitors after discussing the situation with Blizzard, makers of ‘Hearthstone’.
The upcoming international e-sports federation’s 6th annual world e-sports championship taking place in November will bar women from participation in the ‘Hearthstone’, ‘Ultra Street Fighter 4’ and ‘DOTA’ tourneys, according to the ieSF facebook page.
According to ieSF, the reason behind barring women from these gaming tournaments is:
‘The decision to divide male and female gamers was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as a part of our effort to promote e-sports as a legitimate sport’.
They elaborated on this stance of dividing male and female gamers. They claim that by dividing male and female gamers at their tournaments, they are helping to promote female gamers and also following international standards in order to have e-sports recognized as a ‘real sport’. They also argued that by separating male and female gamers, they are able to avoid any conflicts that may arise.
It seems that the real reason behind this decision has to do in part with the location of the world e-sports championships is taking place in baku, Azerbaijan , which will be male only, so the qualifying rounds in Finland would also be male only. The other driving force behind this decision is to avoid conflict and promote female gamers but there is little evidence to back up these claims by the ieSF. However, the finish branch of the ieSF disagrees with this decision and is actively lobbying for equal rights for male and female gamers alike in ieSF tournaments.
The International e-sports federation is a global gaming organization based in South Korea with the goal to promote e-sports as a ‘true sport’.