Sweden says esports is not an official sport, even for a $40 million event

Swedish Sports Federation has refused to recognize esports as an ‘elite sport,’ forcing Valve to host The International 2021 somewhere else in Europe. The International is a multi-million DotA 2 franchise that is among the largest publisher-backed esports events in the world.

In a statement revealed by Valve on its blog, Sweden voted against categorizing esports as an official sport. This means, the event would not be allowed to happen under the current circumstances, when the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have barred larger gatherings.

The statement read: “With the Minister of the Interior failing to recognize The International as an elite sporting event, anyone attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for TI10 (including players, talent, and staff) would be denied,” which is essential for the event.

The International 2021 is a global event where participants from across continents participate. The government denying recognition would most certainly disallow applications of foreigners into the country for a competition not considered as an ‘elite’ sport.