The Global Esports Games have been confirmed for December 2021 ©GEF

Olympic ice hockey gold medallist Angela Ruggiero and Luzeng Song of China will lead the Coordination Commission for the inaugural Global Esports Games.

The pair have been appointed as co-chairs by the Global Esports Federation (GEF), which announced plans for the first edition of the event last month.

It has now been confirmed that the Games will launch in December 2021 with 20 countries said to be interested in playing host.

The event will rival the International Esports Federation's (IESF) World Championship, which has run for 11 editions and also traditionally takes place in December.

Ruggeiro is the co-founder of Sports Innovation Lab, which signed a deal with the GEF last month to become its new global supporter for content strategy.

The 40-year-old, who won ice hockey gold with the US at Nagano 1998, is a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) where she was chair of the Athletes' Commission.

Song is the vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia and a senior advisor to the GEF Board.

The Coordination Commission has been tasked with overseeing the "planning, preparation and staging of the Global Esports Games."

A team of experts will also have roles in the build-up to the new event.

"I look forward to ensuring that esports athletes have the optimal conditions to shine," said Ruggiero.

"I am particularly interested in the vast potential and diverse opportunities esports can offer the world.

Angela Ruggiero has been announced as co-chair of the Coordination Commission for the Global Esports Games ©Getty Images
Angela Ruggiero has been announced as co-chair of the Coordination Commission for the Global Esports Games ©Getty Images

"I believe esports is delivering in new ways, leveraging on technology that can appeal to younger audiences and fans across the world. 

"The Global Esports Games will be an exciting new frontier for the convergence of esports and traditional sports."

A meeting between the GEF and the 20 interested countries has already been held with the governing body hailing an "unprecedented" response to its call for a host.

Multi-title esports competitions and "world class" Opening and Closing Ceremonies have been promised for the event.

"The Global Esports Games serves as a platform to showcase the world's best athletes, players, industry partners, brands, innovations and the responsible use of technology in esports," said Chris Chan, the GEF President.

"In parallel, the GEF will stage GEFcon – a multi-platform conferencing showcase for dialogue on responsible gaming, technological advancement and shared learning – bringing people together for the celebration of esports." 

Esports is now a highly-lucrative business and the number of players has dramatically increased during the lockdowns forced by the COVID-19 crisis.

The possibility of Olympic inclusion one day is often discussed, but the sport's governance remains an issue with both the GEF and IESF in operation.

Last week, insidethegames exclusively revealed details of a letter which said the IOC was not planning to recognise an esports federation.

This year's IESF World Championship was due to be held in Eilat in Israel in December, but has been moved to February 2021.

It is hoped this will allow for an in-person event to be held, amid the coronavirus pandemic.