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RFRSH Entertainment might be one reason the Danish Sports Federation won’t recognize esports as a sport

The Danish Sports Federation won't recognize esports as a sport, and RFRSH Entertainment could be part of the reason
The Danish Sports Federation won't recognize esports as a sport, and RFRSH Entertainment could be part of the reason

The Danish Sports Federation refuses to recognize esports as an official sport in Denmark, and RFRSH Entertainment could be part of the reason why.

According to a report from Danish newspaper BT, the president of the DIF, Niels Nygaard, cited multiple reasons for the rejection. One was that the players/teams “have not worked hard enough yet” and another was about ethical concerns regarding a shooting game like Counter-Strike. A third reason Nygaard included was a concern that esports in Denmark is “commercially run” and not operated democratically, which is contrary to the DIF’s work against match-fixing. He also referred to “one company that owns several teams” which he deemed “deeply irresponsible.”

Nygaard never explicitly mentions RFRSH Entertainment, but the company does represent Danish teams Astralis and Heroic and Swedish team Godsent. It also recently explained why it could take ownership of any or all of the teams if it saw fit.

Jamie Bach, COO for G2 Esports, translated parts of the article on Twitter. Slingshot independently confirmed the contents of the article with a source who speaks Danish.

RFRSH, which refers to itself as an esports marketing and media rights company, launched late last yearMultiple journalists uncovered that Sunstone Technology Ventures, a company of which RFRSH CEO and founder Nikolaj Nyholm was a partner, holds a stake in Astralis. It was intimated RFRSH had stakes in the other teams it represents. (Astralis CEO Frederik Byskov later said on Reddit that Nyholm left Sunstone before starting RFRSH, but he is still listed on Sunstone’s website as a “venture partner.”)

The organization later released the earlier mentioned statement and said RFRSH “may take part ownership of one or more of the teams to secure that the RFRSH model is fully incorporated into the team strategy.”

RFRSH has been part of a debate in the Counter-Strike community about multi-team ownership, a months long conversation that included the World Esports Association outlawing it and the ESL banning teams from competing in the same tournaments as their academy teams.

UPDATE: When reached for comment, RFRSH’s Steen Laursen said: “I don’t see the DIF person referring to RFRSH, as he is specifically talking about owning more teams, which we do not. The discussion about national associations defining esport as sports or not is not really relevant to us.”

Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE

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