Ralf Reichert has left his role as Chairman of ESL FACEIT Group to become the CEO of Saudi Arabian government-founded non-profit organisation the Esports World Cup Foundation.
Reichert was the Founder of prominent esports tournament operator ESL Gaming prior to the $1.5bn (~£1.1bn) merger between FACEIT and ESL by Savvy Games Group. Following the merger in September 2022, Reichert has been Chairman of ESL FACEIT Group.
The news was revealed to Esports Insider during an interview with Ralf Reichert discussing the Esports World Cup, a new cross-title esports event in Saudi Arabia set to commence in the summer of 2024. The full interview is set to be published soon.
As CEO, Reichert will be responsible for developing the Esports World Cup Foundation. The Esports World Cup replaces Gamers8, Saudi Esports Federation’s existing $45m (~£37.96m) esports festival in the country.
Speaking on his decision to become the foundation’s CEO, Reichart told Esports Insider that his goal with esports was “still to make this one of the largest sports in the world.”
“Now we are in a time and place where I got approached [and asked], ‘do you want to run this’? Do you want to build that global uniting competition that is not run by a commercial entity, that was run by a nonprofit.”
Reichert also highlighted that the Esports World Cup aims to bring all gamers together, whilst enabling teams to compete across games beyond a single title-specific world championship.
Saudi Arabia’s continued involvement and investment in esports, such as announcing a multi-million dollar Esports World Cup, has garnered criticism online in the past. These criticisms typically focus on the country’s human rights record towards LGBTQ+ minorities and women.
When asked about ESL’s potential involvement in the Esports World Cup, Reichert stated that the Foundation is a completely separate entity from the tournament organiser.