The European Games Esports Championships is due to begin with an Opening Ceremony tomorrow, with competition running until Sunday ©GEF

The first European Games Esports Championships run alongside the sport programme is set to begin in Katowice tomorrow, with titles in Rocket League and eFootball 2023 set to be on offer with 100 athletes from 28 countries expected to compete.

This three-day event alongside Kraków-Małopolska 2023 follows on from last week's Olympic Esports Series in Singapore, and has been billed as a co-creation by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and Global Esports Federation (GEF), who entered a partnership last year.

Medals are not awarded as part of the European Games, but this marks another cautious strengthening of the Olympic Movement's ties with the esports industry.

Open and women's events are set to be held in both titles.

The eFootball 2023 open field has attracted some of the game's top stars, including Yos Sonneveld of The Netherlands, Miguel Mestra of Spain, Mucahit Sevimli of Turkey and Italy's Umberto Frusciano.

Trans woman Emma Rose of Britain is among those competing in women's eFootball 2023 which organisers say is an example of the event's diversity and inclusion.

The European Games Esports Championships follows on from the Commonwealth Esports Championships held alongside Birmingham 2022.

GEF chief executive Paul Foster revealed an EOC team including Kraków-Małopolska 2023 Coordination Commission chair Hasan Arat visited Birmingham for last year's Championships, and said the European Games Esports Championships was "absolutely inspired" by last year's event.

Foster argued the presence of esports alongside the traditional sports programme already constituted a success for the GEF.

"We would almost already consider it a success in the sense we've got 28 countries coming to participate and 100 athletes, and I think that also speaks volumes for the prestige of the European Games," Foster told insidethegames.

"We hope the EOC is really proud of that as much as we are because that talks about the connection of the European Games, the limitless opportunities for the future in and around this.

"This is a first step - I think it is quite a big step, but it is a first step."

Foster highlighted the Katowice International Congress Centre as "one of the world's leading esports venues", and coverage through the GEF's own channels, Eurosport, Twitch, YouTube and three channels in China.

"We're incredibly proud of that," he added.

"We'll sit down at the end.

"Sometimes these first events you need to get through them, there's obviously been lots of late discussion about titles, shape, size and scale, and when the European Olympic Committees decides on the next host of the Games, certainly GEF will be right there next to them wishing to develop the Esports Championships as an ongoing intellectual property."

Rocket League is one of two events in which titles are set to be on offer at the European Games Esports Championships  ©Rocket League
Rocket League is one of two events in which titles are set to be on offer at the European Games Esports Championships ©Rocket League

The GEFcon conference with panel discussions on esports and Europe and the convergence of sport, esports and technology is due to be held tomorrow before the Opening Ceremony.

Competition is then due to start with Rocket League followed by eFootball 2023 in the upper and lower brackets on Saturday (July 1), followed by the grand finals on Sunday (July 2).

Arat expressed his belief esports could become a medal event at a future edition of the European Games.

"I believe very much it will be in the major programme for the future," the Turkish official said.

"After the big success of the International Olympic Committee's Esports Series, I think the European Olympic Committees is starting something very important for Europe and it will continue."

The European Games in Poland began on June 21, and have featured approximately 7,000 athletes from 48 countries.