The OCA has named the AESF as its exclusive partner ©OCA

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has confirmed the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) as its sole partner for the organisation and management of esports competition at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.

A virtual signing ceremony was held to confirm the agreement.

The OCA said its director general Husain Al-Musallam and Asian Games director Haider Farman signed the agreement in Kuwait.

AESF President Kenneth Fok and director general Sebastian Lau signed at the organisation’s headquarters in Hong Kong.

"It is a great pleasure to officially announce our partnership between OCA and AESF for the new esports programme for our Asian Games," said Al-Musallam.

"OCA will provide full support for a successful esports event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

"We wish all the best to our partner AESF on the journey ahead."

The AESF will organise and manage the regional qualifying competitions and the event itself at Hangzhou 2022.

The OCA said this arrangement will continue in future Asian Games.

Six medal events are due to feature as part of the esports programme at Hangzhou 2022, with the AESF set to select the titles and submit the list for approval by the OCA.

A virtual signing ceremony was held to confirm the agreement ©OCA
A virtual signing ceremony was held to confirm the agreement ©OCA

"I would like to express our sincere appreciation for the continuous support and trust from the OCA," said Fok.

"I believe that the Asian Games presents the best stage for us to share the Olympic values with the esports community, and we aim to make our esports community develop further through this opportunity.

"We look forward to a successful collaboration with OCA as well as the Organising Committee of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022."

The OCA and AESF also announced the launch of a "Road to Asian Games" campaign ahead of the Asian Games.

The "Road to Asian Games" campaign will reportedly include educational aspects, sustainability and legacy projects.

The OCA and AESF say the campaign will also focus on grassroots development, career pathways, health and well-being support and a community outreach initiative known as the AESF Experience Programme.

Esports will make its debut as an official medal sport at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Esports had appeared as a demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games, which was held in Jakarta and Palembang.

It was a demonstration sport at the Ashgabat 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), and will be on the full programme for the next AIMAG in Thailand in 2021.