UK esports org LDN UTD and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation have today announced UTD Against Racism, an online event empowering the young community through esports.
Fans will be offered the opportunity to compete in open qualifiers for FIFA 21 with a chance to play alongside influencers and sports athletes in the finals brackets on Sunday May 30th, which will be broadcast live on LDN UTD’s Twitch channel and produced by 1080 Media.
All profits from the event will be donated, along with funds raised through the stream, to deliver empowerment and skills workshops, in a bid to enable young people to tackle racism and inequality in their own communities.
The stream will include a short film shown in segments on how young people see solutions to racism one year on from the death of George Floyd, as well as other content from celebrity participants, and Rio Ferdinand Foundation Youth Ambassador Leo Brown from Belfast. Leo is an ex Birmingham City footballer who broke into esports when recovering from injury.
The talent line-up will also include Rak-Su singer and TV personality, Myles Stephenson, LDN UTD ambassador ShaunaGames, LDN UTD FIFA pro Adam Ryan, and professional darts player and Sky Sports pundit Devon Petersen, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
LDN UTD has a focus on promoting healthy lifestyle and addressing social issues, having previously held esports events to address issues including knife crime, and in October last year, it held UTD Against Racism with Leyton Orient FC and Kingston Race and Equalities Council.
The Rio Ferdinand Foundation works to strengthen the UK’s most deprived communities to tackle inequality, and recently announced a programme of activities to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. It’s the work of TV pundit and former Manchester United footballer, Rio Ferdinand.
Rio Ferdinand said: “My hopes for the event is to get loads of young people involved, not because they have to get involved, because they want to. Obviously, Rio Ferdinand Foundation being very youth orientated, it will be amazing to see a lot of interaction with young people.
“I will do everything I can to support this. It hits home, it means a lot to me in my own personal life and I don’t want my kids to experience what I’ve experienced or experience things that other people have experienced. Now is the time to change.”
Rio Ferdinand Foundation Youth Ambassador Leo Brown added: “UTD Against Racism is something we should all get behind as it doesn’t just affect people of colour or people from certain ethnic minorities, it affects us all. We are all entwined in some way or another and I feel like creating that safe space for equality can benefit everyone.
ShaunaGames, FIFA streamer and ambassador for LDN UTD, commented: “Youth-led programmes being provided by the Rio Ferdinand Foundation play a pivotal role in connecting our communities and empowering change. At LDN UTD we want to play our part in addressing social change, raise awareness through the medium of esports, and support equality.”
Myles Stephenson, singer for Rak-Su and TV personality, said: “As a mixed raced man raised in the UK, I am proud of both my British and Caribbean heritage. Unfortunately, not everyone celebrates cultural differences and I’ve experienced racism myself. As a result, any opportunity I get to support the fight against racism and where we can bring people together, I want to be involved. #UTDAgainstRacism”
Registration for the qualifiers, which will take place in partnership with Challengermode, can be made via the LDN UTD website.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.