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League of Legends tournament openly discriminates against LGBT players

UPDATE: Removes restrictions, apologises.

UPDATE 04/02/2015: The Philippines eSports organisation that discriminated against the LGBT community with controversial rules for a League of Legends tournament has reversed its decision.

Last night Garena Philippines eSports caused a storm when it said teams involved in the upcoming "all-feminine" League of Legends tournament The Iron Solari would be limited to one gay or transgender women per team because they "probably have some unfair advantage".

As you'd expect, that didn't go down well, with League of Legends developer Riot stepping in to express its concern.

Now, Garena has changed its rules and apologised to the LGBT community following what it called "a lot of good discussion and debate".

Here's the statement, published on the Garena website:

  • Our initial ruling on LGBT player restrictions within the Iron Solari League has created a lot of good discussion and debate over the past 24 hours. After discussing the ruling with our partners and re-examining our approach, we have decided to remove these restrictions completely. This means that any player who self-identifies as female will be allowed to participate. We sincerely apologize for any offense we caused to the LGBT and gaming communities.
  • Our original intent when we put together this tournament was to promote diversity in the competitive gaming community. Hence, we are grateful to our players who have consistently provided their feedback to help us learn and improve as we strive to develop an inclusive gaming environment for all. We'll also be keeping our promise of having an open dialogue with all parties as we plan this and future events.
  • We hope you will tune in to support these awesome teams and players in this upcoming tournament.

Comments on the statement are largely negative, with some ridiculing the wording of Garena's statement.

The second leg of the Iron Solari League is set for 22nd February 2015.

ORIGINAL STORY 03/02/2015: Garena eSports, a Philippines-based competitive gaming league, has made a stipulation limiting how many LGBT players can be on the same team.

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Join now... unless you have any sexual feelings towards another woman or think that you may identify more as a man. We already have one of those.

First off, the league had created an "all-feminine tournament" entitled The Iron Solari. And when it came to deciding who should be allowed in an all female team, Garena came to some interesting conclusions...

"We always want to make sure we are able to have an inclusive environment where no one feels left out, and of course for everybody to enjoy," the league explained in a recent ruling. "On this angle, we believed that allowing more to be eligible to join is obviously the answer and as many of our female teams have expressed -- Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members are their friends too."

Then it added the following passage:

"On the other hand, for any competitions, we seriously look at ensuring there's a fair level playing field for all participants. And there are arguments and concerns from other participants who disputes that Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members may probably have some unfair advantage."

We're not sure what this "unfair advantage" would be, but that's Garena's mode of thinking. As such, it's stipulated that "each team will be allowed to have a maximum of one Gay/Transgendered woman for the entirety of the tournament day."

Any team who violates this rule will be hit with a one year ban.

"It is our hope that with this changes, we're able to realise our goal to have an event where everybody can enjoy while at same time preserving the competitive aspect of this tournament," Garena stated. "We intend to closely monitor the impact of the changes made and will continue to have an open dialog with all parties involved as we continue to look for ways to keep improving Iron Solari."

League of Legends developer Riot Games wasn't happy about this stipulation, even if it is in the Philippines.

"LGBT players are welcome at official LoL tourneys. We're working with partners to ensure consistency with our values across all regions," the developer said on Twitter.

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