After considerable backlash, the League of Legends European Championship has announced that they are withdrawing from their partnership that they announced just now with Saudi Arabian project “Neom”.
Alberto Guerrero, director of esports / EMEA at LEC made the following statement:
“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.”
— LEC (@LEC) July 29, 2020
Originally Neom would have been the main sponsor of the remainder of the 2020 Summer Split, but LEC received a lot of negative feedback regarding the Saudi Arabian government’s issues such as the treatment of LGBTQ people among other things.
This was the original statement from LEC regarding the partnership:
“NEOM is a new community that will be the home and workplace for more than a million citizens from around the world who want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working, and prospering in Saudi Arabia. It will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations all designed to play a leading role in global development – and will be championing the development of esports across the world. NEOM has their sights set on the future – and to help future-proof the LEC stage, they’ll be sponsoring the Oracle Lens during live broadcasts which helps players predict the next moves a team will make. Starting from Summer Week 7, NEOM joins Kia, Alienware, and KitKat, completing the lineup of our main partners for this season.”