Gamers Without Borders: Saudi eSports tournament returns with pledge to donate $10 million to vaccine distribution

The nine-week contest will welcome both expert and amateur players to face off in some of the industry's most famous games

Gamers Without Borders will donate this year's prize fund to charities that are helping distribute Covid-19 vaccines in vulnerable nations. Supplied
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Gamers Without Borders, a large eSports charity tournament, will return for a second year, pledging to donate its $10 million prize fund to global Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

The competition, which debuted last April, will take place over nine weeks and is open to gamers of all skill levels across the world.

The event, which last year was named the world's biggest charity eSports festival, will begin with the first contest on Monday, June 7.

Under the theme No One Left Behind, the tournament's $10m charity prize fund will be battled for in a six-week elite series, where some of the world's best gamers will go head-to-head on titles such as Fortnite, Rocket League and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege.

Winners will donate their share of the prize fund towards charitable initiatives, such as Unicef, working towards ensuring some of the world's most vulnerable countries receive Covid-19 vaccines.

Gamers Without Borders' community tournaments – which let gamers of all abilities battle it out – will also return, with play-offs of titles including Overwatch, Tekken 7 and Call of Duty taking place in a virtual studio.

The tournament was created by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (Safeis) in partnership with Electronic Sports League (ESL), the world’s largest eSports company.

The event will be streamed live on the festival's website and social media accounts.

"We know what gamers can do when they unite behind a cause – and there is no bigger global cause than fighting this virus. It is important to understand that even with vaccines rolling out in developed nations, millions of others face the possibility of not being vaccinated for months or maybe years," said Prince Faisal bin Bandar, chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation.

“We want to connect, inspire and entertain the international gaming community to ensure we leave no one behind in supporting the world’s ongoing recovery from Covid-19."

Liam Payne, bottom right, faced off on 'Fifa 20' against Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold at last year's festival. Gamers WIthout Borders 
Liam Payne, bottom right, faced off on 'Fifa 20' against Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold at last year's festival. Gamers WIthout Borders 

Last year's festival included star appearances from the likes of Liam Payne and Snoop Dogg. Organisers have promised that this year's tournament will also feature celebrity attendees, though details are yet to be revealed.

Broadcasts of the tournament will be held in seven languages, and will also include a fundraiser for viewers to donate to any of the charities supported by Gamers Without Borders.

Last year's tournament attracted 460,000 gamers from 141 countries, according to organisers, with more than 200,000 community matches taking place across six weeks.

Gamers can register to take part in the 2021 community tournaments, which will begin on Monday, June 7, at