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Will Olympic Agenda 2020+5 Pave The Way For Inclusion Of Virtual Sports?

Will Olympic Agenda 2020+5 Pave The Way For Inclusion Of Virtual Sports?
Thursday, 15 April 2021 By Paolo Macchi, Anthony Indaimo

On 15 February 2021, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Swiss-based authority responsible for organising the modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games, issued its "Olympic Agenda 2020+5", a strategic roadmap to 2025, which sets out 15 recommendations aimed at safeguarding the Olympic values and reinforcing the role of sports in society.[1] This set of recommendations follows the Olympic Agenda 2020, which paved the way for the future of the Olympics.[2]

Within the 15 key points highlighted by the IOC's Executive Board, Recommendation 9 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 calls upon the IOC and the Olympic Movement to:

"encourage the development of virtual sports and further engage with video gaming communities".[3]

In doing so, the Executive Board underpins the growing popularity of virtual sports for the purpose of promoting "the Olympic Movement, Olympic values, sports participation and [to] grow direct relations with youth".[4]   This article examines what virtual sports are and how close we might be to seeing them included in the Olympics, looking specifically at:

  • The difference between gaming, esports and virtual sports
    • Gaming vs esports
    • Virtual sports (physical and non-physical)
    • The IOC’s evolving view on esports
  • Will the IOC’s recommendations pave the way to Olympic inclusion?
    • Publishers, sponsors and existing organisers
    • Immigration and related legal issues
  • Comment

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Written by

Paolo Macchi

Paolo Macchi

Paolo is a senior associate in the corporate team at Withers LLP (Milan)

Anthony Indaimo

Anthony Indaimo

Anthony is a partner in the corporate team at Withers LLP.

He focuses on cross-border corporate, commercial and corporate finance transactions involving the acquisition and disposal of businesses and shares for both private and public companies, joint ventures and capital raising with a particular emphasis on the sports, technology and brands sectors, especially those involving the US, UK, Italy and Asia Pacific.

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