The speculations from recent weeks have been confirmed. A few days ago, Riot Games published a video in which John Needham, Global Head of Esports at Riot Games, takes a stand on the current status of the Worlds 2021.
There were plenty of rumors that the League of Legends World Championship will not take place again in China, but in Europe. The reason for this is the current situation around the coronavirus pandemic as well as the competitive integrity of the Worlds and the entire League of Legends esports.
In the past months, cities of Los Angeles and Shanghai have worked hard to be able to host World Championships in 2020 and 2021. As Needham reports, the organizers initially believed that the start of vaccinations would make it possible to return towards normality in 2021. But things are not going as planned.
This year, due to the Delta variant, the associated travel restrictions and Covid itself, it is even more difficult to host such an e-sports mega-event than it was in 2020. Nevertheless, one is still proud to have organized such a successful tournament last year, which broke records and at the same time did not cause a single new infection, according to Needham.
In order to ensure the competitive integrity of League of Legends and the World’s 2021, it has now been decided to move this year’s World Cup from China and the five planned cities to Europe. The Global Head of Esports at Riot Games emphasized again and again that this should ensure that the best teams in the world can compete in full and with their best players.
The exact venues or countries in which the biggest League of Legends event of the year will now be played have not been revealed yet. The move to Europe should enable “most teams and their best players” to compete against each other and measure themselves against each other in a fairway. The venues would also orient themselves to this in order to be able to implement this decisive key factor. Europe last hosted the best League of Legends teams in the world in 2019. The World Cup took place in the capitals of Berlin, Madrid and Paris.
The relocation was necessary because otherwise, it would have happened that five or even more teams that qualify for the World Championship would not have been able to compete with their full rosters. In view of the considerable investment of time and resources, they did not want to accept this, but at the same time wanted to ensure that there will also be great offers in China to experience and participate in the World Cup.
Needham also apologizes to the Chinese players and fans on behalf of Riot Games, but points out in the same sentence that the decision will also enable the LPL teams to compete against the best teams with the strongest rosters from around the world.