First Strike champions from Valorant Strike Arabia
Upwards of six groups have been precluded from the Strike Arabia, a competition that covers the Middle East and North Africa and offers a last-chance qualifier into the finish of-year Valorant Champions occasion after it arose that a portion of their players had been playing from Palestine.
The State of Palestine is excluded from the 14 nations qualified for the occasion, and players dwelling there are restricted from taking an interest in any Riot sponsored occasions.
The affected teams include Valorant’s First Strike Levent and Egypt champions, JO Esports, with one of their player’s, Baha “B4HA” Yosef, admitting that he was playing from Palestine although he holds Jordanian residency and passport, a fact common for many people who live in the country.
It is believed that a number of teams were disqualified from the event for various infractions. All are however welcome to compete in future tournaments, provided they do not break the rules.
Riot Games’ PR & Communications Manager for MENA, Luciano Rahal, speaking to GINX, said that “several complaints” were made by teams regarding suspected rulebreaking and while it was disappointing for those residing in Palestine, the rules had to be enforced.
Suggestions that geopolitical concerns were the reasoning behind Palestine’s exclusion were untrue claimed Rahal, but rather server infrastructure, population and other logistical concerns were factored into what countries will be eligible for Strike Arabia.
Rahal said: “In a region of over 20 countries, with different server points, we can not always ensure competitive integrity[…] When it came to Strike Arabia we made very clear everyone that these are the current thirteen countries we were going to work with.”
“We just added Libya to Strike Arabia, and we are hoping by Season 2, Palestine will be there along with three other countries from the region.”
Strike Arabia is split into two or sometimes three regions depending on the tournament format: GGC & Iraq, North Africa and Levant & Egypt.