A requirement for Finland's Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone competition has outraged the gaming community. According to this PC Gamer report, an announcement page for the Hearthstone qualifier reveals that "The participation is open only to Finnish male players." The qualifier's organizers, the Finnish eSports Federation, are taking a lot of heat for this requirement and for their explanation why they have decided to separate and/or exclude players based on gender. But apparently, the decision isn't theirs – it's the organizers of the IeSF World Championship.
"Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only," said Markus "Olodyn" Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, in a statement to PC Gamer. "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."
Koskivirta's explanation did nothing to placate those questioning the requirements and the exclusion of women altogether from playing certain games like Hearthstone.
The International e-Sports Federation, is a global e-Sports organization based in South Korea that is comprised of e-sports associations from all around the world. The IeSF's sixth World Championship will take place this November, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Interestingly enough, women are allowed to play Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 against each other, but are not allowed to play Dota 2, Hearthstone, or Ultra Street Fighter IV in the upcoming World Championship.
In a reply to a Facebook comment asking why men and women had been divided for the competition, the IeSF responded with the following:
"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."
PC Gamer has a lot more on this story here, with even more seemingly ridiculous excuses as to why women and men cannot compete against each other and why women are excluded from playing certain games.
If there is any good news from this story it is that IeSF claims it is "absorbing" all the feedback on this issue that it has received over the last couple of days:
"In the last hours we have received lots of feedback from your regarding the IeSF 6th e-Sports World Championship, particularly regarding the male/female tournament division.
We want to thank you for your interest in e-Sports and for sharing your opinions. The e-Sports community opinion is always important to the IeSF.
Our top priority is to promote e-Sports in the best ways we can. We believe that listening is important, are we're now collecting your opinions from the social media, and we will update soon."