The E-sports Federation of Cambodia (EFC) and Moonton Games have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly establish the Mobile Legends Bang Bang Southeast Asia Cup 2023 (MSC 2023) for the first time, which will be held in Phnom Penh.

The signing ceremony, held on March 14 at the Ministry of Information, was attended by Noy Phana, representative for the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC); Pen Vuthy, head of the Department of Physical Education and Sports at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport; and Huot Sengtry, director of the Department of Event Planning and Management.

“We are very happy to bring MSC to Cambodia with the support of the EFC, the education ministry, and the NOCC. Many countries in ASEAN and other regions will enter the competition. This is also a great opportunity for talented Cambodian athletes to compete with other athletes to improve their skills,” said Ray Ng, head of e-sports ecosystems at Moonton Games.

EFC president Chea Chanboribo said the MS 2023 event will be held in Phnom Penh from June 10-18 after the May’s SEA Games.

The Pro Team competition will be attended by professional teams from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, North America, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Turkey.

He noted that for the number of teams that will be offered by each country, Indonesia and the Philippines get two teams. Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Turkey, North Africa and MENA get one seat. Another seat will go to either Thailand, Laos or Vietnam depending on which team wins the Mekong region qualifier.

He continued that the MSC event was first established by Moonton in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2017 with the participation of eight teams. The following year the event was adjusted and attended by other countries.

“In 2023 Moonton Games focused on Cambodia and collaborated with EFC to hold this big event in Phnom Penh. There were a lot of athletes and fans of the Mobile Legends Bang Bang event. The opportunity to host this event is a testament to the development of Cambodia and the field of e-sports based on peace, security and especially the infrastructure in Cambodia, as well as good management,” he said.

Chea Chanboribo, who is also a secretary of state at the information ministry, said the EFC had overcome many problems in the development of e-sports, because the word “game” in this sport was misunderstood by most people to mean gambling. The federation had tried to make rules and regulations, particularly tightening the conditions for competition for e-sports to become a real sport.

“We have seen that e-sports have taken another step forward in the framework of a full-fledged professional league. We have also invited foreign coaches as well as foreign players to join the team in Cambodia. Therefore, I hope that the Cambodian e-sports team will do well in MSC 2023,” he said.