UPDATE: This Hearthstone tournament is only open to men

Wednesday, 2nd July 2014 14:44 GMT By Dave Cook

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will appear at Finnish eSports tournament IeSF World Championship, alongside other games. The catch is that entry was only open to men because its organisers want to promote gaming as a “legitimate sport.” The decision has since been overturned.


The IeSF has heard from both the Finnish organisers and Blizzard, and has now decided to open up the men-only events to females as well. Get the full story and statements here.



It all started when Reddit user Karuta posted an image of the IeSF World Championship entry form, as written by organisers the Finnish eSports Federation.


Note the line that reads, “The participation is only open to Finnish male players.”

In a statement sent to PC Gamer, Markus “Olodyn” Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier confirmed that the line was not a typo, and is correct.

“Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only,” said Koskivirta. “In accordance with the International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8) among other things.”

The site adds that the International e-Sports Federation is based in South Korea and aims to promote eSports as a legitimate sport. The Finnish event is a qualifier for the outfit’s sixth annual finals in Baku, Azerbaijan this November, with separate tournaments for male and female participants. There are no mixed gender events.

Taken from the group’s Facebook page, the event line-up reads:

  • Male Competition: Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Ultra Street Fighter IV
  • Female Competition: Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2

When gamers took IeSF to task for its gender division, it replied by saying, “The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”

Does this imply that female gamers cannot be taken seriously as eSports players?

Koskivirta stressed to PC Gamer that the Finnish organisers are trying to appeal to the IeSF for gender divisions to be done away with and added that all other tourneys organised by The Finnish eSports Federation are open to both genders.

Essentially, the order has come from South Korea, not Finland’s local organisers.

“We would also like to point out that the Finnish eSports Federation is currently lobbying for the equal rights of male and female players in the IeSF tournaments,” Koskivirta cocluded. “This is an ongoing process and we of course welcome any support in this matter.”

What’s your take?



  1. CyberMarco

    Bitching commence in 3… 2… 1…

    #1 6 months ago
  2. Sylrissa

    Popcorn anyone?

    #2 6 months ago
  3. Dragon

    I could understand in physical sport where male/female division makes sense, but in e-sports? I don’t see why a male gamer would be better than a female one when getting same practice. Feels more like these people are just afraid to change the status quo.
    I don’t know much about e-sports though.

    #3 6 months ago
  4. Panthro

    Men and women have been divided in sports forever. It’s not news.

    But to be honest to split the divide would be awesome, it would make boxing and UFC a whole lot more interesting.

    Watching 2 steroid pumped idiots punch and kick eachother in the face can only be entertaining for so long.

    I would pay good money to watch male vs female sport events. Especially UFC.

    #4 6 months ago
  5. Rosseu

    I don’t usually care but Dragon brings up a good point. I’ve been closely following the dota 2 competitive scene and have yet to hear about girl pro players on tournaments.

    #5 6 months ago
  6. Levester


    #6 6 months ago
  7. Levester

    if the editors on this site wanna talk about women in gaming, could u at least not make it THE TOP HEADLINE? I don’t give a shit about this issue because almost every argument for it has been complete trash. I’m not saying women aren’t discriminated against in gaming, they obviously are. But the activists fighting for equality in this field pick the worst times to bring it up. This is a clear cut instance of discrimination. But when people complain about a lack of female lead characters at E3 and things like that, I just sigh and scroll down.
    pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease could we keep these articles lower on the priority list? I can’t believe this is the biggest story of the day. is this the most boring day in gaming history?
    and to be clear, every article pertaining to this issue has been listed as the top headline for the day. Can we stop pretending that these articles are the most important on this site? these a lot of us who just don’t give a shit anymore because you guys turned us away with ur terrible arguments.

    #7 6 months ago
  8. KesMonkey

    Unlike the recent Assassin’s Creed “controversy”, there is a legitmate gripe here.
    Unfortunately, as can be seen from some of the comments posted here already, the (mind-bogglingly) misplaced criticisms surrounding Assassin’s Creed have jaded some people to the point that they don’t give a shit about a genuine issue when it crops up.

    #8 6 months ago
  9. Darkfield

    Because it’s so embarrassing to lose to a woman? ridiculous if you ask me.

    #9 6 months ago
  10. Cycovision

    Click bait much? Besides StarCraft II all the games are gendered between men and women. Men can’t play certain games and women can’t play certain games. It’s fucking stupid as a whole.

    #10 6 months ago
  11. Keiggo

    @Panthro you are a scary person

    #11 6 months ago
  12. bradk825

    This is the dorkiest sexism I’ve ever seen.

    In most physical sports it makes sense to have seperate male and female leagues. Not all (darts) but most. Men and women have different muscular skeletal structure and in many sports that would give male players and unfair advantage and females would simply not get drafted in the interest of competition if they didn’t have their own league.

    But correct me if I am wrong, but both men and women are built with the exact same parts required for gaming, in the same places. I don’t see any reason to seperate male and female gamers in a competition unless you are just taking yourself WAY to seriously in the whole “esports is a sport” argument.

    #12 6 months ago
  13. TheWulf

    Good for Finland! It’s not really surprising that this came from Korea, honestly, because they have weird attitudes about women gamers. Japan, as regressive as they can be when it comes to gender, have more progressive attitudes than Korea. So, yeah, that’s not too surprising.

    Looks like they’re being held hostage by the people with the money. Shitty thing, if you ask me, since without Korea this probably wouldn’t be happening in the first place. They’re doing all the can by lobbying, so I actually support them in that. If, of course, they’re actually lobbying!

    So… that’s my take on it. Korea continues to be typically regressive. I know it’s a cultural difference, but I always feel bad for women in certain Asian cultures. I mean, in Japan, I’ve heard from multiple sources that, among students, the men tend to treat the women like servants. That’s not cool.

    Women are human beings too who deserve the same treatment in every respect.

    So, yeah, this is just parts of Asia being parts of Asia. And I’m always torn about those parts because whilst I do love their games, and their culture, and their rich history, I find myself upset by their treatment of women. I can definitely respect them, but only up until that point.

    Oh, Japan and South Korea, you could be so cool if you were just a touch more progressive.

    #13 6 months ago
  14. Dragon

    ” Japan, as regressive as they can be when it comes to gender, have more progressive attitudes than Korea. So, yeah, that’s not too surprising.”
    There you have it folks, an expert opinion on Japan and Korea, sponsored by DaWaulf™.

    #14 6 months ago
  15. TheWulf

    Oh, and yeah, I’m obviously for women being a part of eSports because, hey, I’m me. But this is just Asia being ridiculously regressive and holding Finland hostage to their cultural ideals.


    And, yeah, it probably would be because it would be humiliating for the average gamer to lose to a woman, since they don’t handle that well. But it’s ridiculous, honestly, to not include them for that or any other reason. I’ve never seen any indication of men being better at vidyagames than women, in fact, the history of eSports has had some very prominent women showing their skills.

    But Asia will be Asia. I’m torn, because I’m not a fan of embodying racist notions, but at the same time I don’t think that South Korea should be holding Finland hostage with its own cultural ideals. That… seems like South Korea being racist, if anything, and not understanding that other cultures exist. :P

    So, yeah. I’m proud of Finland for at least petitioning it, though.

    #15 6 months ago
  16. RainzFTW

    I definitely agree with @Bradk825

    #16 6 months ago
  17. Legendaryboss

    Oh dear.

    #17 6 months ago
  18. Game Hunter

    This doesn’t make games being a sport?give me a break.other than pressing buttons it doesn’t put any physical pressure on human body to call it a sport.and woman should be allowed to play always alongside men.that’s how gamer couples should find each other after all :P

    #18 6 months ago
  19. Game Hunter

    Women* where’s that goddamn edit button?

    #19 6 months ago
  20. fearmonkey

    As most players will be “boys” I imagine they will have a tough time finding many “men”.

    #20 6 months ago
  21. Game Hunter

    It’s worth noting that some “gallant”male gamers will let their female rivals win so that they feel better.that’s personal experience BTW :P

    #21 6 months ago
  22. silkvg247

    The fact that they state they look for “equal rights” in a place where rights are already equal (both genders have arms, hands and fingers), deeply disturbs me.

    This is the most sickening thing I’ve ever seen. I did wonder why South Korean eSport personalities were always male, with zero females. In fact the only female presence seems to be that of the women doting on the male eSports stars.

    Heaven forbid it ever worked the other way around? Would the universe implode?

    Unlike real sports, there is no difference in ability between the genders. So literally, the only reason to state “male only” IS sexism. The reason given is even more damning, because it suggests that female gamers can’t be taken seriously. I guess that’s because they should be in the kitchen making pie?

    It’s even worse that it’s for a bloody card strategy game! Women are typically better at logical thinking. Maybe SK are scared of being dominated? Would explain a lot.

    What really pisses me off about this kind of shite is that I’ve been gaming for longer than eSports have even existed. Probably since the organizers have been in nappies. And that includes South Korean eSports. It’s disrespectful to me, for sure.

    #22 6 months ago
  23. Darkfield

    @Game Hunter a very cool white knight story, but having that personal sacrifice in a friendly game doesn’t mean anything other than you were planning to get laid. In a tournament where there’s a large cash for grab you’d beat your own mother to death if it meant you could get your hands on that money.

    #23 6 months ago
  24. silkvg247

    @Game Hunter Then they’re fucking idiots, and that’s their problem not ours.

    #24 6 months ago
  25. OrbitMonkey

    Its funny they’ve made a *no women* rule, just like how I definitely broke up with my girl *before* she dumped me… sob…

    Point being, what women?

    #25 6 months ago
  26. Stardog

    “Does this imply that female gamers cannot be taken seriously as eSports players?”

    No, it means every “legitimate” sport is split into male/female, so they’re doing the same.

    Only feminazi’s would read that any differently.

    #26 6 months ago
  27. dontbescaredhomie92

    @Panthro Obviously you know nothing about either of those sports, your comment is the most idiotic and ignorant thing I’ve ever read on here and that’s fucking saying something.

    #27 6 months ago
  28. Game Hunter

    Lol people can’t see through jokes these days.

    #28 6 months ago
  29. Game Hunter

    BTW the Hearthstone ads are constantly in my face when I visit here.

    #29 6 months ago
  30. Game Hunter

    By joke I meant the @21

    #30 6 months ago
  31. Dave Cook

    Actually cannot believe some of the idiotic replies to this. I’m sorry but…

    “Men and women have been separated in sports for years’

    Uh huh, correct, but due to their different physicality. Why are esports being segregated? Do men have faster reflexes or stronger button pressing fingers?

    No, they don’t. Men and women are equal in games so they should be able to compete as such.

    And to the reader who said games arent a sport, those million dollar prize pots would argue that theyre closer to a sport now than ever.

    Faith in humanity slipped a few points. Sorry guys.

    #31 6 months ago
  32. Llewelyn_MT

    @Dave Cook
    I’m with you on that. This is nowhere near the stupid gripe about not including female characters in some games. This is serous business.

    If I were a Finnish woman (but I am neither) I would buy a ticket and sue their sorry asses on the grounds of discrimination if they denied me participation. As you can read on Wikipedia [1] “Finland has offered very high opportunities to women in public/professional life”.


    #32 6 months ago
  33. Dragon

    @Dave Cook ,
    More like people slavishly adhering to status quo without thinking.

    Some people here should look at that and then think about why physical sports is segregated based on gender and why same logic doesn’t apply to video games/e-sports.

    #33 6 months ago

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