UPDATE: This Hearthstone tournament is only open to men

Wednesday, 2 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?