Six VALORANT teams competing in the Arab Strike Championship have been disqualified for participating from Palestine, according to several of the competing players and confirmed by Riot’s PR manager for the region.
The teams were competing in the Levant and Egypt region, which includes Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, according to the initial report by GinxTV. This region excludes Palestine, Syria, and Israel, although players in Israel can compete in the EU region. Palestine is not listed as an eligible country as part of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Baha "B4HA" Yosef of JO Esports, and also a First Strike Levant and Egypt winner with NASR Esports, shared on Twitter that he had been disqualified for playing from Palestine despite having residency and a passport for the country of Jordan.
Riot's PR and communications manager for MENA, Luciano Rahal, told Ginx that "several complaints" had been made to Riot about suspected rule-breaking. Rahal confirmed that the decision was not influenced by "geopolitical concerns" but by "server infrastructure, population and other logistical concerns."
The State of Palestine is recognized as a country by the United Nations and by a majority of countries around the world, but not by the U.S. or the majority of Europe. All three countries that make up the Levant and Egypt VALORANT region recognize Palestine, though, and Rahal says the team is hoping to add Palestine by the next season.
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