Commonwealth Games makes U-turn on esports

Esports will not feature in the 2026 Commonwealth Games, which are due to be held in Victoria, Australia.

The surprising U-turn comes after esports were piloted at the 2022 Games held in Birmingham.

The pilot was co-funded by the Commonwealth Games Federation (GF) and the Global Esports Federation (GEF). At the time, the CGF called the pilot a success and expected esports to be held at future Games.

The CGF, GEF and the 2026 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee all refused to give an explanation for the U-turn when contacted by BBC News.

However, a source told the BBC that issues surrounding doping played a factor in the decision, and in particular of concerns surrounding the necessity of arranging a year-round drugs testing program which could prove too problematic.

The use of prescription drugs such as Adderall to enhance performance has been a recurring issue in competitive gaming tournaments.

In July 2022, the CGF signed a long-term partnership agreement with the World Anti-Doping Agency. However, none of the 100 players at the 2022 pilot event were drugs tested.