Vlad Marinescu has called for unity between esports organisations ©IESF

International Esports Federation (IESF) President Vlad Marinescu has lamented "phantom" organisations causing cracks in esports' road to international recognition, calling for unity between all bodies within the community.

Following his successful re-election as head of the organisation - after the withdrawal of only challenger Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al-Nuhyan from the United Arab Emirates - Marinescu spoke exclusively to insidethegames about the difficulties still surrounding the IESF's recognition as the sole International Federation for esports.

Various organisations agreed to a merger into the IESF, but the Global Esports Federation (GEF), who were founded in 2019, continue to hold out.

Prior to the dissolution of the body late last month, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) deemed IESF had fulfilled 119 of the 120 requirements for membership, a pivotal step towards Olympic recognition and legitimacy for members with their National Governments and National Olympic Committees.

All that remained was being the undisputed governing body for esports, with the GEF still holding a claim to this too.

The likes of the Esports World Federation (ESWF) are under the IESF banner as a partner, but meetings with the GEF did not conclude in the same way, despite Marinescu, who is also the director general of the International Judo Federation, claiming his team asked the GEF to name their price.

"In November 2021 in a meeting with the GEF, the demand was that they should recognise the IESF as the International Federation for membership in GAISF because all the other points were completed and we received the confirmation from the Membership Commission of GAISF as ready to be approved," said the IESF President to insidethegames.

"The cheque we were willing to pay for that was carte blanche.

"We were ready to make the sacrifices that would be fair in order to secure the unity of esports that would benefit the National Federations and athletes around the world.

"We have yet to receive any firm feedback."

The Global Esports Federation has not come to an agreement with the International Esports Federation ©GEF
The Global Esports Federation has not come to an agreement with the International Esports Federation ©GEF

During his opening speech at the General Meeting, he touched on ESWF and other groups joining the IESF and said there had to be "total unity" when speaking to insidethegames later that evening.

"I don't know what the occurrence or emergence of other phantom organisations other than to create importance for people who aren’t from the space that want to somehow be associated with the space," Marinescu added.

"I see this happening more and more in recent years especially when COVID-19 came.

"There are many people who are claiming to be working on esports in various countries and we've managed in recent years to stop those rivalries and unite those Federations to join each other and develop further jointly.

"I believe there has to be total unity.

"As the IESF is developing, I doubt we can call the GEF an International Federation of esports because they don't vote their members and don't vote their statutes.

"It looks more like a private company with no transparency and no audit and not even allowing their members to speak or vote during the General Assemblies."

Attendees at the IESF Ordinary General Meeting ©IESF
Attendees at the IESF Ordinary General Meeting ©IESF

To date, the GEF states it has over 120 members, while the IESF, which was formed in 2008, states it has 130.

Marinescu took over as President of the organisation in May 2020 following the resignation of South African Colin Webster, and was formally elected to the position later that year.

His next term is to expire in December 2025.

The dissolution of GAISF leaves the recognition of the IESF and the GEF unknown for now.

The GEF recently worked with the Commonwealth Games Federation to deliver the Commonwealth Esports Championships alongside the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, in August.

insidethegames has contacted the GEF for comment.