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“Katowice sends a message to the world”, President Duda declares inaugural #EGE23 open

Global Esports Federation and European Olympic Committees mark a major milestone for esports as European Games Esports Championships kicks off in Katowice, Poland

Paul J. Foster, CEO of the Global Esports Federation (left), presented the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, with a GEF Trophy during the opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games Esports Championships. Photo by: Ben Queenborough, Global Esports Federation.

The President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, raised the curtain on the inaugural European Games Esports Championships at a grand opening ceremony at the GEF_Arena on Friday night. The President declared the #EGE23 open with the showcase of GEF Anthem – #worldconnected Together.

The competition, co-created and organized by the Global Esports Federation and the European Olympic Committees, takes place at the GEF_Arena, International Congress Centre (MCK), Katowice, on Saturday and Sunday, July 1-2.

The #EGE23 event runs alongside the 3rd European Games, with 100 athletes from 28 countries across Europe participating. The athletes, coaches, and judges’ community recited the GEF Athlete’s Pledge during the opening ceremony as a symbolic gesture of commitment, unity, shared values, and personal responsibility towards the event.

Athletes and teams compete for trophies in two top esports titles – eFootball™ 2023 (Open and Women) and Rocket League (Open). Qualifications take place on Saturday, with grand finals on Sunday.

“I was born and raised in Krakow, the capital city of the European Games, and in a certain sense, the Polish capital of sports,” said President Duda. “However, it was Katowice that was the host of the first great Polish gaming event, back in the 1990s. Thousands of young people came to the Games Fair, to see cutting-edge technology.

Esports is a sports discipline today, accompanied by all the Olympic ideals. Fair play, integrity, and noble competition of young people. I wish all the best to all the participants. From Katowice, a message is sent all over the world, that the games are open, and that they are going to last.”

Paul J. Foster, CEO, Global Esports Federation, added, “Today is a historic day for esports and sport and our #worldconnected community.

It signals the coming together of people across Europe, bridging tradition and innovation while looking ahead to the dynamic opportunities of a brighter future, together.

The European Games Esports Championships were co-created from an inspiring strategic partnership between the Global Esports Federation and the visionary leadership of the European Olympic Committees.”

President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), Spyros Capralos said, “Today is a very exciting day for the EOC, for gamers, for sport, for Poland. And it is an exciting day for me too.

This is the first time the EOC has hosted an event like this. We are curious to see how it works in a social context, and in the context of a multisport games. Curiosity drives us to learn. It drives us to explore the boundaries of mental and physical performance.

Athletes, I echo my words from the opening ceremony of the European Games, with a reminder of Olympic values, which are universal values. We look forward to the excellence you will show in the following days.”

Katowice, Capital City of Esports in Poland
The Opening Ceremony of the inaugural European Games Esports Championships. Photo by: Ben Queenborough, Global Esports Federation.

Honorary President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Andrzej Kraśnicki, said, “It is this moment that I should address the dear friends of esports. We all have esports in our hearts, and we welcome you to Katowice, the capital city of esports in Poland.

When we heard the decision of the EOC and GEF, we decided to immediately agree to organize it here, in Katowice. We are very open to the community and grassroots initiatives. We are looking forward to some fantastic days.”

Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Science of UNESCO, Gabriela Ramos, expressed her excitement and passion for the inaugural staging of the #EGE23, via a video message from Baku, Azerbaijan, where she has been hosting UNESCO’s Global Sports Conference, MINEPS VII, attended by the GEF.

Catch All the #Esports Excitement at GEF_Arena, MCK, Katowice

Athletes and Delegations have been staying at GEF_House since Wednesday. Along with visitors, they have been enjoying the GEFestival, which promises much interest and variety and runs until Sunday.

There are lectures, workshops, a “Just Dance” tournament, a Sim Racing area, retro gaming zone, and a university esports competition.

GEFcon, GEF’s global convention of thought leaders and idea creators in business, esports, sport, and technology on an international stage for sharing and learning, kick-started Day 1 of #EGE23 with panel discussions on Esports and Europe, as well as the Convergence of Sport, Esports, and Technology.

Follow the #EGE23 by watching live at the GEF_Arena at International Congress Centre, Katowice, or stream the event LIVE on GEF Twitch, GEF YouTube, EOC Channel, Douyu, Douyin and Huya in China.

For more information on the tournament and GEFestival activities schedules, click here.


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