League Of Legends European Championship Ends Partnership With Saudi Arabia After 14 Hours

League Of Legends European Championship Ends Partnership With Saudi Arabia After 14 Hours
Credit: Riot Games via YouTube

LEC has just published a tweet that sees very many people celebrating; 14 hours after announcing the partnership with Saudi Arabia to bring esports to the ‘utopian’ city of Neom, they have ended the agreement after a massive backlash.

The tweet announcing that they were joining forces with the same entity that has systematically killed innumerable people because they were either LGBT or atheist, was made while LEC still had their pride flag profile on Twitter; a move that many pointed out must mean very little to the actual team.

Multiple personalities voiced their concern over working with a government that would publically execute them if given the chance.

A statement from Alberto Guerrero, Director of Esports, reads as follows:

As a company and as a league, we know that it’s important to recognize when we make mistakes and quickly work to correct them. After further reflection, while we remain steadfastly committed to all of our players and fans worldwide including those living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, the LEC has ended its partnership with NEOM, effective immediately. In an effort to expand our esports ecosystem, we moved too quickly to cement this partnership and caused rifts in the very community we seek to grow. While we missed our own expectations in this instance, we’re committed to reexamining our internal structures to ensure this doesn’t happen again

Be still our beating heart, the public backlash was enough for LEC to walk away from what was allegedly a ‘massive deal’ after multiple outlets brought great scrutiny to the alliance that sought to merge young and innovative minds with the middle east.

What could have possibly gone wrong?

Many League of Legends players are tremendously thankful, especially those that could be executed in Saudi Arabia if their ‘sins’ were known to the public before arrival. Now, many are looking expectantly over at Counter-Strike with Danish tourney organizers at BLAST; the professional CS:GO scene also houses a few personalities that could similarly be legally and publically executed in Saudi Arabia for how they choose to live their lives.

Some Arabic social media users are vocally disappointed, stating that, despite the law enacted in 2014, homosexuals and atheists are no longer hunted down. The law stands, but apparently people don’t follow it. They seem surprised that esports, as a whole, generally frown on the whole ‘public execution’ thing.

It’s clear that this partnership would not have been rescinded if there wasn’t a massive public outcry; at least it has been rescinded, however, whether or not corporations have any interest in human rights.