NEOM will no longer be a partnered brand in the LEC. The LEC originally announced a partnership between the two earlier today.
The announcement was welcomed with backlash, as Saudi Arabia follows Muslim Sharia Law. It’s illegal to be gay or transgender and there is no recognition of same-sex marriage. These acts are punishable according to the BBC. NEOM is a planned city in Saudi Arabia which will border Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. It operates in part due to the Saudia Arabian government.
Several members of the LEC broadcast team voiced concern over the decision to partner with the group. This included Indiana “Foruskurinn” Black, a caster for the popular European league, who is gay. “I am let down by the LEC today,” Froskurinn wrote over Twitter.
Other League personalities and European casters spoke out, including Eefje “Szokz” Depoortere, Daniel Drakos, Laure Valée, and Trevor “Quickshot” Henry.
The outspoken North American AD carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng also had something to say about the decision.
NEOM also partnered with BLAST, a CS:GO and DOTA 2 tournament organizer earlier in the week. No statement has been made yet by BLAST as if they will continue their partnership with NEOM.
Following a day of condemning from the League community, the LEC ended their partnership with the Saudi Arabian group. “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,” wrote Alberto Guerrero, the EMEA director of esports.
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