Riot’s global VALORANT esports lead faces backlash after unfortunate joke on social media

The European VALORANT community isn't happy.

NAVI and TL take the stage at Champions 2023.
Photo by Liu YiCun via Riot Games

On Saturday, Aug. 12, Riot Games unveiled a whole plethora of different VALORANT events that would take place during the extended downtime between the 2023 and 2024 seasons—and many people are pretty upset by how the schedule has shaken out, especially among the EMEA community.

In fact, the fanbase levied heavy criticism towards Leo Faria, the global head of VALORANT esports, via Reddit on Aug. 12 after he made a quick joke following a question about the lack of major events in Europe.

When Faria posted about the upcoming OFF//SEASON schedule for EMEA, NRG Esports’ own Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks asked about plans for any events happening in Europe. Faria then made a nonchalant remark about the situation, saying that “EMEA will spend the offseason polishing their trophies apparently.” It was an ill-advised post that garnered a swift response from fans and players alike from around the region.

Related: Riot schedules over 40 VALORANT tournaments as OFF//SEASON approaches

Maryville Esports’ in-game leader Adam “ec1s” Eccles voiced out a complaint from around the region, stating that a majority of the nine events across EMEA are region-locked. Other places like North America, on the other hand, will receive open qualifiers where any team can compete in those events, no matter where they are in the region.

For example, Case Esports’ head coach Lucas Rojo brought up that he could only compete in events that take place in Spain, which means that he and his team will need to wait several months before the start of the new competitive season in 2024.

In the eyes of many, this downtime is a huge reason why many teams leave the tier-two VALORANT scene since there’s no reason to field a team without any events to compete in. As a result, droves of pro players and staff are left without jobs, creating an incredibly unsustainable environment for any aspiring pros looking to climb up and build their own legacy.

The European tier-two scene has already been struggling to find support and sustainability, even though it features some of the most talented players in the region. When concerns around the state of esports and its profitability are also taken into consideration, supporters are right to worry about the future of the scene—unless major steps are taken to right the ship before it sinks completely.


Tyler Esguerra
Lead League of Legends writer for Dot Esports. Forever an LCS supporter, AD carry main, with more than five years in the industry. Sometimes I like clicking heads in Call of Duty or VALORANT. Creator of the Critical Strike Podcast.

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