Ministry introduces National Esports Development Guidelines to protect players

Yeoh said NESDEG serves as an extension of the 'safe sports code' announced in March. — CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh unveiled the National Esports Development Guidelines (NESDEG), an initiative from Esports Integrated (ESI) and her ministry intended to provide protections to players and guidance to organisers.

Yeoh said NESDEG will serve as an extension of the 'safe sports code' announced in March that’s meant to create a safer environment for Malaysia's athletes.

She then followed up by saying that the Sports Development Act 1997 was also amended in March to include esports.

"Today, esports is recognised as a sport; this recognition will make it easier for all parties to liaise with schools and all kinds of agencies.

"It is my hope that we do not just develop a perfect document but start off the process of strengthening the entire ecosystem and the industry.

"NESDEG must be a living document and must be continuously improved.

"This version that we are launching today must not remain stagnant, I think engagement must continue to happen," she says, adding that she hopes both parents and medical experts are brought together for the healthy development of esports in the country.

NESDEG contains five chapters covering a number of key scopes in the development of a safe, vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable esports ecosystem.

This includes the management of player contracts, the governance and management of esports events, the monitoring and protection of children, a code of conduct and ethics, and guidance on esports career paths.

There are plans to include a sixth chapter on the application of science and sports medicine in esports.

ESI CEO Ahmed Faris Amir said during the launch that while NESDEG only serves as a set of recommendations, he hopes that it can become a regulatory framework down the line.

"NESDEG in its simplest form is our effort to advocate and educate the public, especially the youth and our teenagers involved in the esports scene, to know their rights, ways to protect themselves, and the legal recourse available for them.

"It is also important to know that NESDEG is a set of recommendations for the ecosystem to follow and not a regulatory framework yet.

"But we hope that through the introduction of these guidelines, the first steps towards codifying an esports regulatory framework can start to take root," he says.

It was also announced that esports would be part of the 2024 Malaysian Games (SUKMA), though the specific titles to be included were not shared.

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