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Riot forms global deals council and ethics committee after NEOM controversy

Riot Games has established a global deals council and a new ethics committee to help avoid a repeat of the recent NEOM games partnership.Â

Chris Kerr, News Editor

August 10, 2020

2 Min Read

Riot Games has established a global deals council and a new ethics committee to help avoid a repeat of the recent NEOM games partnership. 

As reported by ESPN, the deals council will be comprised of representatives from Riot's esports team, social impact division, and legal and diversity and inclusion teams. 

It will aim to ensure there is company-wide transparency surrounding all business development and sponsorship deals, and according to Riot president Dylan Jadeja -- who broke the news on an internal call -- will allow all Rioters to "have a voice to raise a flag and for that to be followed through on."

The ethics committee, meanwhile, will help to assess potential business deals while continuing to place the wider company direction and philosophy under the microscope. 

The formation of the council and committee comes just under two weeks after Riot announced and then quickly scrapped its League of Legends European Championship (LEC) partnership with NEOM, a new cross-border 'smart city' backed by the Saudi Arabian government -- which has a history of human rights abuses that includes the persecution of LGBT persons. 

Riot quickly canned the deal, which it initially praised as a groundbreaking addition to its sponsorship lineup, after prominent Riot Games developers, esports casters, and players decried the move. 

"As a company and as a league, we know that it’s important to recognize when we make mistakes and quickly work to correct them. After further reflection, while we remain steadfastly committed to all of our players and fans worldwide including those living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, the LEC has ended its partnership with NEOM, effective immediately," said Riot at the time.

"In an effort to expand our esports ecosystem, we moved too quickly to cement this partnership and caused rifts in the very community we seek to grow. While we missed our own expectations in this instance, we’re committed to reexamining our internal structures to ensure this doesn't happen again."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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