Saudi Esports Federation and Japan Esports Union sign MOU to foster esports talent development

13 December 2023

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Saudi Esports Federation signs partnership with Japanese Esports Union
Image Credit: Saudi Esports Federation/Japanese Esports Union

The Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) and Japan Esports Union (JeSU) have signed an MOU that aims to enhance human resources and foster esports industry growth.

Signed by SEF President HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud and JeSU Chairman Hideki Hayakawa, the strategic partnership will see both entities exchange knowledge to bolster talent development within the industry.

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The SEF has secured several partnerships with stakeholders within the esports industry this year, including American fast food company KFC and the Saudi Telecom company (Stc Group). As the organizers of the Gamers8 festival, the SEF also counted on several endemic partners such as Razer and LG UltraGear, as well as financial company Mastercard. All these key partners are part of Saudi Arabia’s goal to accelerate the development of the esports industry and turn the country into a hub for esports and gaming by 2030.

HRH Prince Faisal commented on the collaboration: “Amidst the incredible synergy between the Saudi Esports Federation and Japan Esports Union, our shared commitment to human resources development is not solely a collaboration – it’s a beacon illuminating the path to unlocking the esports industry’s full potential.

“By concentrating our collective efforts and resources on a range of human resources areas in due course, we will make tremendous progress toward redefining what’s possible for everybody connected with esports.”

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Earlier in October, it also signed a partnership with the British Esports Federation to develop esports talent through cultural exchange programmes, internships, training, and educational initiatives. While the partnership announcement was met with community criticisms on social media, the British Esports Federation did not cancel the partnership.

Saudi Arabia’s government-led involvement in esports has caused community concern given the country’s human rights record, especially towards LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and censorship. While Saudi Arabia has claimed it’s trying to diversify its economy and create new jobs in esports and gaming, some commentators have used the term ‘esportwashing’ to describe the country’s attempt to alter its public image.

Hayakawa also spoke on the collaboration: “The Saudi Esports Academy operated by SEF provides an excellent curriculum to produce global esports talent and improve their competitive ability. JeSU resonates strongly with the ideals of the Academy and will work together with them through international personnel exchanges and the introduction of instructors.”

Davide Xu