Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) President Kenneth Fok has welcomed the Olympic Movement’s conclusion that competitive esports "could be considered as a sporting activity".
A statement released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the end of last week’s Olympic Summit in Lausanne said esports could be considered as such because "players involved play with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports".
The IOC and the Global Association of International Sports Federations now intend to enter a "dialogue" with the gaming industry and players to explore the area further.
They will report to Olympic Movement stakeholders "in due course".
Fok says the AESF would like to express its gratitude for the IOC’s "strong support in the development of esports".
He also extended the organisation's thanks to Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Association of National Olympic Committees, who he claims "plays a vital role in promoting eports worldwide".
A recently-formed AESF Board includes Kuwait’s Sheikh Fahad Al-Sabah, the son of Sheikh Ahmad.
Fok is the son of Timothy Fok, President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and an IOC member and a close ally of Sheikh Ahmad.
"As a leading eports continent, AESF shares a common goal with all stakeholders in promoting eportsin Asia as professional sporting, and the players comparable to athletes in traditional sports," Fok said.
"Esports will earn its global validity and we have great confidence about the future success."
Fok targeted IOC recognition for esports following his election as the AESF President in September during the organisation’s General Assembly in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat.
The General Assembly was held during the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, where esports featured as a demonstration event.
In order to be fully recognised by the IOC as a sport, however, it is stated that the content of esports must not "infringe on the Olympic values".
A further requirement for recognition by the IOC must be the existence of an organisation "guaranteeing compliance with the rules and regulations of the Olympic Movement", including on areas such as anti-doping and match-fixing.
It is hoped that esports will feature on the full Asian Games programme in Hangzhou in 2022.
This is being organised through a partnership between the OCA and Alisports, a division of Alibaba, announced as an IOC TOP sponsor in January.
Developing esports has never been stated as a specific aim of this cooperation.
In April, IOC President Thomas Bach voiced reservations about whether esports can be considered a pursuit worthy of serious consideration for a place on the Olympic programme but, at the same time, promised to "watch" its development following a call for a more organised governing body.
Sheikh Ahmad, present at the Olympic Summit, has claimed that the growth in popularity of esports cannot be ignored and needs to be accommodated to help keep the world's youth engaged.