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Pro-esports Stockholm mayor confronts federal bodies over Valve events

Stockholm political leader Anna König Jerlmyr has sent a letter to multiple Swedish governing bodies asking for federal recognition of esports.

The request comes weeks after a Swedish federal decision ruled that esports players were not elite athletes, denying them legally defined special privileges. Consequentially, The International 10 officially relocated out of Stockholm to Bucharest, Romania. Dota 2 players would not be able to acquire Swedish visas for the $40 million event. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s $2 million PGL Stockholm Major may also leave the country soon.

Jerlmyr is the Municipal Commissioner for Finance of Stockholm, a position similar to mayorship in the United States. Stockholm’s leading politician sent a letter to Minister of the Interior Mikael Damberg and Minister of Sports Amanda Lind asking the federal government to support esports in Sweden. News of the letter was first broken by Swedish newspaper Expressen.

 “The government is about to repeat the same mistake it made a few weeks ago when the world's largest esports tournament, The International, moved from Stockholm. Now, unfortunately, the story looks like it will repeat for CSGO Major, when the government once again does not provide information that ensures the implementation of the tournament,” Jerlmyr wrote, according to digital translation. 

Anna König Jerlmyr stated that Sweden’s high rate of vaccination reduces the possibility of health risks. She expressed that the local population is “over 70 percent vaccinated in the Stockholm region.” 

The mayor also stated that other sporting events have continued to take place in Sweden, including a World Figure Skating Championships event and Global Champion Tour steeplechase tournament. Stockholm’s Municipal Commissioner further cited the economic and cultural incentives of hosting prestigious esports events. 

“The organizers choosing Sweden and Stockholm is an opportunity for thousands of visitors to see their heroes from around the world, live here in our capital. A positive side effect of this is all the hotel nights, restaurant visits, and our rich cultural life that not only enriches visitors, but also the industries hit hard by the ongoing pandemic," Jerlmyr said. 

IS the CSGO PGL Stockholm Major still in Sweden?

Valve announced its decision to relocate The International 10 just days after a Swedish legal decision reclassified esports separately from traditional sports.

PGL initially assured CSGO fans that the Stockholm Major would continue as planned but event organizers are likely considering backup plans. Both tournaments have the biggest prize pools in their respective games’ history and represent a triumphant return to offline esports play. 

The International 10 is set to start on October 7 in Bucharest, Romania. The PGL Stockholm Major is currently scheduled for October 23 in Stockholm.