Riot Games has teamed with GGTEch and NUEL to launch Rising Stars, a new women's League of Legends standalone tournament.
In a bid to "promote inclusion and opportunities in esports", Riot says each competing team is "required to be entirely composed of women" aged at least 16 years old.
An online tournament for teams from across Europe - albeit one "primarily geared toward participants from the UK, Ireland, and the Nordics" - is scheduled to take place on 26th and 27th November, and played on the EUWest server. Participants require a League of Legends account "in good standing" and will battle for their share of a £3000 prize pool. Registration closes on 22nd November.
It's unclear if non-binary and transgender competitors are welcome, and Riot says player registration "will include gender verification in collaboration with DivE, an organisation promoting gender diversity in esports who already assists in the EMEA operation of Riot Games’ VCT Game Changers tournament and Wild Circuit Game Changers". Moderators will also be employed "to ensure and support a safe space for all participants".
"Riot Games is committed to creating more opportunities for women gamers; Game Changers has been a huge success for Valorant and will continue to expand into other games," said Will Attwood, competitive experiences manager at Riot Games.
"Rising Stars, as a local, standalone tournament, is another example of the work that we and our partners can do to promote diversity and inclusion in the esports community. The fact that we’re also able to support students taking their first professional steps in the industry is the cherry on top."
"Esports is a fantastic arena for all gaming enthusiasts to engage and compete during the winter months and the Rising Stars tournament is the perfect platform to bring people together," added David Jackson, GGTech/NUEL country manager. "All players who participate in esports competitions should be made to feel included and welcome, so it is great to see the work that Riot Games and DivE are doing in this space."
The news come just weeks after a coach accused of sexual harassment left Serbian esports organisation Rising Hope.
Last month, Rising Hope's all-female Valorant team and head coach Jehiel quit after a sexual harassment claim was raised regarding another coach, named Simons. In a Twitlonger statement, Jehiel detailed how Simons would regularly threaten to reveal his genitals despite frequent requests not to.
"It may be an internal joke to them or something but since I am a coach of female players, I found it inappropriate," Jehiel said. "So I called him out telling him that it wasn't a good joke and that he should refrain from doing that as it was not funny."