Team Liquid donates $50,000 to LGBTQ+ charity in response to Riyadh Masters participation

Declan Mclaughlin
Team Liquid logo

Team Liquid has pledged to donate $50,000 to LGBTQ+ charity Rainbow Railroad in response to its Dota 2 team’s participation in Riyadh Masters.

Team Liquid has put out a statement with a video of its CEO about its Dota 2 roster’s participation in the Saudi Arabian tournament, Riyadh Masters. The tournament, and the ongoing Gamers8 event in the country, have come under fire for sports washing the country’s human rights record.

The tournament is set to start on July 19 and comes just days after the Bali Major in which Team Liquid finished second.

Team Liquid’s CEO, Victor Goossens, said in a four-minute video posted to Twitter that the team is aware of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, especially in regard to LGBTQ+ individuals, and will still participate in tournaments in the country.

“There’s many things we need to take into account,” Goossens said. “So first and foremost this event, Gamers8, is really being built to be the new world championships of esports. The money that is flowing in from a prize pool perspective and participation perspective, is absolutely enormous. In a way, if Team Liquid does not participate it leads to all sorts of challenges.”

Team Liquid explains Riyadh Masters participation

Goossens explains in the video that if Saudi Arabian events are being positioned as the biggest tournaments for esports, then the organization could find it hard to attract and retain top talent if they refuse to play in them.

“Truth be told, for better or worse, I do not see a path or I do not see a future for an organization within esports to stay in the top tier and not participate in any of these events,” the TL CEO said.

He did go on to say that Team Liquid will still stand by its values, like diversion and inclusion, and express them during these events. Goossens also mentions the organization has no issue calling out the human rights record of the country.

In response to the Dota 2 team’s participation in the event, Team Liquid has pledged to donate $50,000 to Rainbow Railroad, an LGBTQ+ charity that helps people escape persecution around the world.

“We know this won’t please everyone, and we understand that the community will talk. That’s good. We believe that this is better than the silence that would come otherwise,” the Team Liquid statement said.

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