So I posted on Friday that I didn’t want to cover much of the MSSA anymore but then I got hassled for most of Friday and Saturday about the coverage so I decided to do some more investigation and what I found was quite disappointing.
As you know MSSA is the local government organisation that looks after eSports (and other mindsports). MSSA is held under the umbrella of SASCOC, SASCOC has a set definition for terms and players who are eligible for selection for national colours and to participate in Test Matches.
Now continuing on our policy of not investigating the players, I looked into the actual match and according to SASCOC this is the official definition of a test match
“test match”-means a contest in sport between national teams of two or more nations, held in terms of the rules and regulations of the international controlling body of such sport.
So that’s pretty clear. It’s a contest between two national teams under the auspice of an international controlling body, easy enough. Now we can make a national team thanks to the existence of the MSSA who has been granted permission by the government to award colours and run trials.
However we recently played against Mexico, whose dismal performance started all of this, and this match was marketed in some spheres as a test match.
So I took it upon myself to investigate whether this was valid, as we’ve been accused by the MSSA and supporters of not investigating our articles properly. After a fruitless search via Google and after a number of discussions with the Mexican gamers over Facebook it was becoming clear that there was no such organisation.
But we didn’t stop there, I decided to email the Mexican embassy in South Africa and asked them if such an organisation exists and I received this response from Mauricio Apablaza from the Embassy of Mexico
Thank you for your email and interest in Mexico. With regards to your enquiry about eSports in Mexico we unfortunately do not have any department or government office in Mexico that deal with this activity since is a private leisure matter.
If you send us more details about your specific enquiry we might be able to give you some advice.
We’re still chatting but the first paragraph is the killer. Without a government office that deals with eSports they cannot legally make a national side. Therefore the test match was invalid, it’s not even debateable.
I put this question to Colin Webster and received the following response.
Mexico eSports is a member of the IeSF as is the Romanian Federation.
Your argument is groundless.
C A Webster
I quickly replied
You are bound by the terms of the SASCOC code of conduct. Are you sure this is your final answer or would you like to chat to the legal department and come back?
To which Colin responded very quickly
Your lack of knowledge is laughable!
Perhaps you would like to apologise for your malicious statements?
Is Lazygamer owned by AshSky Media CC. Are you a member of the CC? Does AshSky Media CC have a URL?
So the fact that SASCOC has a very definitive definition of what can and can’t be called a test match and the fact that the MSSA didn’t follow that definition makes this argument groundless. And then we head back down the road of attempted legal bullying by implying he needs all the information about the company while never stating why.
This email conversation when on ad nausea until I stopped responding. I suspect it will start again today though.
Oh and you may be wondering about the Romanian mention above, well that was from when NightEND came to SA to play against PandaTank in that widely marketed Test Match that many sponsors put a lot of finances into. Now I haven’t received a response yet on whether or not the Romania eSports setup is official or not so I’m not saying it was invalid.. yet.
I wonder how the Bok sponsors would feel if they were told they were sponsoring an official test match only to find out afterwards it was nothing more than our national team playing some random team with no affiliation to any national body.
The IesF is a private organisation which has tasked itself with improving eSports worldwide, something which can only be applauded and I wish it all the best. However what it can’t be is an international body that can organise international matches between non affiliated teams.
eSports Mexico is also run by a private individual with no links to the government or national bodies.
It’s a disgrace only eclipsed by the fact that the MSSA is defending their position after organising a false test match.
I also keep on being told we are posting malicious arguments and that I should apologise for them.
The definition of malicious is
“characterized by malice; intending or intended to do harm.”
There is no malice here, it is our job to report on eSports and gaming in the country and unless all of this information is fundamentally flawed I have only posted information that gamers, organisations and sponsors have a right to know. It’s in the public interest so today the MSSA needs to decide if they are going to press charges or drop the legal facade. It’s like claiming the BBC’s reporting is malicious because they pointed out that the UK government has done something wrong.
I’d also like to send a huge thanks out to all those people who have emailed me documents, information and history around their dealings with the MSSA. It appears I have opened the biggest can of worms in South African gaming history.