The CGF have agreed an exploratory partnership with the GEF ©CGF

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has announced an exploratory partnership with the Global Esports Federation (GEF), as the organisation seeks to develop a Commonwealth esports strategy.

The CGF said the plan will see the two bodies collaborate on specific areas aligned to Transformation 2022, the Commonwealth Sport Movement strategic plan.

This will involve an analysis being conducted on the status of esports in the Commonwealth, and assessing its capacity to support and advance the CGF's aims through the strategy.

The CGF said the partnership will also explore and develop "athlete-centered, sport-focused initiatives and campaigns that harness and elevate the principles of equality, diversity, inclusion, integrity and innovation, among others, in esports across the Commonwealth".

Development of sustainable esports competitions and development opportunities will also be assessed.

The CGF hope Commonwealth Games Associations and the wider Commonwealth will benefit, due to partnerships and promotional activities which could connect athletes and communities.

"In recent years, we have seen the dramatic rise of esports in terms of popularity and participation, particularly the participation of young people," said Dame Louise Martin, CGF President.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in esports globally has continued to increase significantly which demonstrates an important characteristic of connecting people during a difficult period. 

"For some time now, the CGF has been looking for a way to formally engage with esports, to explore how it can align with the Commonwealth Sports Movement and its support of the sustainable development of digital infrastructure, connectivity and commerce across the Commonwealth.

"In the Global Esports Federation, we know we have the right partner to help us undertake this exciting piece of work."

The GEF was established in December to create a
The GEF was established in December to create a "safe, healthy and sustainable esports ecosystem" ©GEF

Esports had been suggested as a potential medal sport for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago, an event that will now be rescheduled to avoid a date clash with the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The CGF Sport Committee were due to determine whether esports could be considered as a possible medal event.

The partnership with the CGF appears to be a coup for the fledgling GEF, which was only established in December.

GEF President Chris Chan, who is a CGF regional vice-president for Asia, said the partnership would help to develop a pathway for a progressive and visionary future for the Commonwealth.

"We are honoured to embark on this strategic partnership and support the Commonwealth Games Federation," Chan said.

"This partnership further strengthens the Global Esports Federation's mission of convening the world's esports ecosystem.

"The GEF Board and I look forward to working together with Dame Louise Martin and the entire Commonwealth Sport Movement.

"We congratulate the CGF for the work they do every day, developing sports across the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories, and beyond.

"This partnership allows us to develop a pathway together for an inclusive, progressive and visionary future for the youth and the entire Commonwealth – north to south, east to west – reaching across a third of the world's population.

"The future of esports continues to be bright, and we look forward to developing great collaborations across the world, elevating esports based on the traditions and values of sport and the principle of harnessing technology for good."

The GEF is a rival to the International Esports Federation, which was established in 2008 in South Korea.

The organisation says it hopes to create a "safe, healthy, and sustainable esports ecosystem".