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League of Legends’ world championships moved from China to Europe

The move happens just weeks before the event is set to begin

League of Legends – 2020 Worlds - Finals Photo by David Lee/Riot Games/Riot Games Inc. via Getty Images

The 2021 League of Legends’ World Championship, the end-of-year tournament for arguably the biggest esport in the world, has been moved from China to a currently undisclosed location in Europe, Riot Games announced. The move happens just weeks before the competition is set to begin.

In a video, John Needham, global head of esports at Riot, said that travel restrictions and COVID protocols made it a challenge to hold the event in China. The move was first reported Monday by Upcomer.

“After considering all potential options, we concluded that moving Worlds to Europe provided the best opportunity for the most teams and their best players to compete,” Needham explained. “We’re not ready to announce where in Europe Worlds will be held this year, but accessibility for the highest number of teams and their best players will be the key deciding factor.”

This will be the second major League of Legends tournament to take place in Europe this year, following May’s Mid-Season Invitational hosted in Reykjavik, Iceland. Worlds is typically a big annual showcase for Riot, with past events including an opening ceremony powered by holograms and a mixed reality stage. It’s unclear if the shift in location will impact next year’s iteration of Worlds, which is slated to take place in North America.

League’s world championship isn’t the only esports event to have been moved in recent months. Dota 2’s The International, which kicks off in October, was first scheduled to happen in Stockholm, Sweden but was moved to Bucharest, Romania because of restrictions on esports events.