Former professional soccer player Rio Ferdinand’s charitable foundation, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, has partnered with London-based esports organization LND UTD for UTD AGAINST RACISM, an online esports event to educate young people about racism in conjunction with a celebrity FIFA 21 Pro-Am competition. Esports tournament platform Challengmode will help operate the event.
“Esports is an important part of youth culture and we are pleased to announce our work with LDN UTD on the upcoming UTD Against Racism esports tournament,” Rio Ferdinand told The Esports Observer. “The day will not only feature some great tournament play but also explore issues around racism, inequality, and issues in the gaming space through the eyes of gamers, sportspeople, music, and the arts. It will be a truly interactive event and I hope people will support the cause and get involved on the day.”
Produced by 1080 Media, the finals will be broadcast on LDN UTD’s Twitch channel and will include a short film on how young people see solutions to racism, as well as other content from celebrity participants and Rio Ferdinand Foundation Youth Ambassador Leo Brown, a former Birmingham City soccer player who turned to esports while recovering from injury.
Celebrities taking part in the competition include singer (and member of English R&B band Rak-Su) Myles Stephenson, LDN UTD FIFA pros ShaunaGames and Adam Ryan, and professional darts player and Sky Sports commentator Devon Petersen. More participants are to be announced, according to a release.
“At LDN UTD, we use the platform of gaming and esports to address social issues,” Oliver Weingarten, founder and CEO of LDN UTD tells TEO. “We are delighted to be working with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation on their 10th anniversary to continue our work to promote diversity and equality not just in our sector, but to the wider industries.”
Fans can sign up to compete in open qualifiers for FIFA 21 for a chance to play alongside celebrities in the finals brackets on May 30. Funds generated from the event will be used to offer workshops on racism aimed at youth in the UK.
In related news, LDN UTD announced Thursday a strategic partnership with London-based sports business executive-focused network iSportconnect to provide regular feature content across its channels, alongside esports educational content. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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