Finnish Hearthstone tournament bans female players

International eSports Federation says it wants to make it a 'legitimate' sport

A Hearthstone tournament being run by the Finnish eSports Federation has sparked controversy by only allowing male gamers to take part.

Update - The IeSF has now reversed its policy and is now accepting all entrants regardless of gender.

Original story:

The tournament, which will be held at the Assembly Summer 2014 convention, is a qualifier for the Hearthstone International eSports Federation (IeSF) World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan, with the winner representing Finland in the contest.


However, a user on Reddit's Hearthstone community drew attention to the tournament's entry requirements, which specify that all players must be male.

Despite frustration being directed at the Finnish eSports Federation, the issue in fact lies with the IeSF, which has made the World Championship male-only.

"Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only," Markus Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone tournament, told PC Gamer.

"[This is] in accordance with the IeSF's tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts, such as a female player eliminating a male player during RO8, among other things."

Koskivirta also noted that all other tournaments at Assembly Summer 2014 are open to all genders, adding: "We would also like to point out that the Finnish eSports Federation is currently lobbying for the equal rights of male and female players in the IeSF tournaments"

This year's IeSF World Championship in Baku will feature a number of games divided into gender. Males will be taking part in tournaments for DotA 2, StarCraft 2, Hearthstone and Ultra Street Fighter IV, while females can enter separate tournaments for StarCraft 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

On its Facebook page, the IeSF stated the reason for this division is that it wants to give eSports added legitimacy and is therefore following in the path of other sports which are not inter-gender.

"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," the organisation stated.