(As usual please mind that my first language is Swedish, doing my best here.)
Seeing a lot of questions and discussions about what happened with The International being moved from Sweden, i felt like i wanted to tell you the reasoning behind it. Sweden has been decently ahead when it comes to gaming and e-sport no doubt. We have really impressive cheap internet. We have great organisations that have been doing e-sports and gaming since day one. We have had results internationally with a lot of great players and in a huge variety of games. But this situation kind of makes us take a step back. However with the current situation in Sweden right now i truly understand that the e-sport in Stockholm question was not the highest priority. But if we narrow it down, i would say this is the reason the international did not happen in Sweden after all:
Getting bad recommendations
Valve has gotten bad recommendations regarding this matter, and according to themselves this is from Visit Stockholm and Stockholm Live.
”Over the course of the past year, Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm continued to reassure us in our regular and constant communications with them that The International – Dota 2 Championships qualified for the same exemptions other elite sporting events there received.”https://www.dota2.com/newsentry/2992060508108464823?l=english
The companies are not wrong in that sense that it should be considered a elite sporting event, for sure not. But what the e-sports associations already have tried is to become a part of the the Swedish Sports Confederation, and we have failed to make that work still. Thinking that it would all of a sudden be accepted this year and not having a PLAN-B, is really putting all the eggs in one basket, and i believe someone has made a huge misjudge of this situation
Getting accepted into the Swedish Sport Confederation
This is not the only way of making events like this happen in the future, but its definitely one way. I dont care if e-sports is defined as sports or not personally. But many people want that to happen since it would open doors that needs to be opened to really make it professional.
And tihs is something that might not be completely impossible after all. I mean times change and people change, so things could happen. But there was one factor that made it impossible , and that is we had two e-sports associations that applied for the same membership.
This would never have worked obviously. It’s the same with all sports, to be considered into the confederation you have to come united as one. But a lot of Swedish people learned that we actually have 2 different organisations that wants to be a part of this, and they are not cooperating, quite the opposite. Having to applications shows a divided e-sports scene, and this is something we have to solve before we can get a chance of this.
You can always blame the government. They are in charge after all. But it seems like they have gotten this question way to late on their table because of the bad advises first of all. There has not been a known problem until like 1 month ago, and also then this was kept under the radar, the politicians could not really do much to change this. And as the laws works now around Covid-19, you kind of need to be considered elite sports to even be able to make a gathering like the international right now. And even if we would have somehow in time made this a sportevent, as the laws are working right now the viewership in Globen would have been really low since you cant bring as much people as other countries right now anyway. I’d say that 99% of all events in Sweden during this timeperiod got cancelled so, im surprised in that sense that this event was not. But the hope was that there was a plan to solve these issues long beforehand.
The reason i put this together is because i want to tell the my view about what is happening. We have a lot of work to do with e-sports still here. First off all we need to unite the two e-sports associations and then make sure that if we apply for the sports confederation again we do it under one united flag. If this is not the way to go, we need to make sure the politics is adapted in way so we can get the same much needed laws (for example regarding VISAS) as elite sports do. And probably next time we need to make sure that we have a pandemic strategy that makes us equal to other countries. Because lets face it, if we did not have this pandemic this would be a different story for sure.