Update: Riot Games has since confirmed that the League of Legends 2021 World Championship will take place in Europe.
League of Legends developer Riot Games is making preparations to announce that the League of Legends 2021 World Championship will be relocating from China to Europe, sources told Upcomer on Monday.
The change comes after Riot ran into difficulties securing travel for production crews to China, sources said, though the decision was made recently. As of Friday, League Championship Series teams vying for a spot at Worlds were still working to secure visas to enter China, sources in the North American league said.
“We’ll share official updates tomorrow on our socials,” a Riot global communications representative said in a statement Monday.
The League of Legends 2021 World Championship was initially planned to be a multi-city event in China with tournament stages being held across Shanghai, Qingdao, Wuhan, Chendu and Shenzen. Last year, the 2020 World Championship was held in China without fans up until the grand finals, which accommodated a limited audience due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. South Korea’s DWG KIA, then known as Damwon Gaming, won the title over Chinese representative Suning Gaming to give South Korea its first League of Legends World Championship title since 2017.
The last time Europe hosted the World Championship was in 2019, which was also the last time a live audience was permitted to attend an international League of Legends event. The month-long tournament spanned across Berlin, Madrid and Paris, and culminated with China’s FunPlus Phoenix beating European representative G2 Esports in a 3-0 sweep.
Questions remain about the specifics of the tournament’s locations and dates, particularly with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and adjustments to health regulations from country to country. According to Reuters, approximately 23 cases of every 100 reported COVID-19 infections were reported from European countries. The United Kingdom currently sits at an average of more than 32,000 reported infections a day. Since the start of the pandemic, the continent has reported over 54 million COVID-19 infections.
The following teams have qualified to attend the 2021 World Championship:
- DWG KIA (South Korea)
- Gen.G (South Korea)
- T1 (South Korea)
- 100 Thieves (North America)
- Team Liquid (North America)
- Cloud9 (North America)
- Rogue (Europe)
- MAD Lions (Europe)
- Fnatic (Europe)
NongShim REDFORCE, Liiv SANDBOX and Hanwha Life Esports will compete for the League of Legends Champions Korea’s last remaining Worlds spot. Teams from the League of Legends Pro League, Pacific Championship Series and emerging regions have yet to qualify. Upcomer also has a live list of all the teams who have qualified for Worlds so far available.
– Upcomer’s Nick Ray and Parkes Ousley contributed to this report.
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