A new governing body for esports in the United Kingdom has been announced, apparently with the backing of the U.K. government for the very first time.
The new British eSports Association will reportedly work with the government’s Department of Culture Media and Sport to develop grassroots tournaments, support the existing professional scene and create an online portal for news and tournaments.
Heading up the organization as chair will be Andy Payne OBE, managing director of the Mastertronic software publishing group. Payne is also a board member of UKIE, the trade body for the UK games industry.
Payne is the only person mentioned in the release, with no indication of anyone with direct esports experience taking part so far.
“I am an admirer of the work of other sports associations such as British Cycling,” Payne said in the announcement. “and I am very confident that if we welcome and embrace all parties in the UK eSports scene, we can deliver a range of benefits to all players, from professional to amateur in the UK over time. These are exciting times in eSports and the time is right to build this organisation from the grassroots up.”
The release asks for any interested party to email them ideas on what they can do for the industry.
The initiative is not the first time the UK government has attempted to get involved in national esports. The government was involved in launching eGames, the Olympic-style international esports competition that is planned to launch with a “showcase” event in Rio alongside the Olympic Games—though little information is available about what this event will entail.