Ex Oblivione refuse to compete in Overwatch 2 Esports World Cup: ‘We value inclusivity and equality’

Ex Oblivione

Esports organisation Ex Oblivione have declined to participate in the Overwatch 2 Esports World Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this summer.

Ex Oblivione, who announced their Overwatch Champions Series EMEA roster (featuring UK support player Crispy) a month ago, posted a statement on their social media Twitter account.

It comes a few weeks after Overwatch 2 was officially added as one of the game titles at the Esports World Cup 2024, and a few days after the Overwatch Faceit League was announced.

The org said: “After careful consideration, Ex Oblivione will participate in the Faceit leagues, but will regrettably not be competing in the Riyadh Esports World Cup if presented the opportunity.

“Ex Oblivione values inclusivity and equality. By attending the Esports World Cup at Riyadh, we would be unable to provide the necessary accessibility to a valued part of our community as well as excluding our fans from cheering with us.”

“While our players are free to compete and are encouraged to pursue all opportunities available in Overwatch esports that reward them for their talent, we are unable to invest in the promotion and participation of the Riyadh Overwatch 2 Esports World Cup as Ex Oblivione.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Many of the org’s followers and several in the community reacted positively to the news, while some reacted negatively, saying the org ‘won’t be missed’.

ESL Faceit Group is of course owned by the Saudi Arabian government’s Savvy Games Group. And Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, announced the new annual Esports World Cup last year.

The Esports World Cup will contain other game tournaments including Tekken 8, CS2, Dota 2, Honor of Kings, StarCraft II, Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG, Mobile Legends Bang Bang, PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire.

It’s not the first time a team has refused to participate in a Saudi-hosted esports tournament.

Two years ago, Moist Esports declined to play at Saudi’s GWB Rocket League event, with UK coach Noah vowing “not to associate with a country that doesn’t recognise LGBTQ+ people as human beings”.

Half a year ago, British Esports responded to community criticism over its partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation.

Related opinion article: Navigating through Saudi Arabia’s continued rise in esports and why it’s okay to feel conflicted

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