By Jane Wakefield

Technology reporter

Image source, Ubisoft

Image caption,

Rainbow Six Siege has more than 70 million registered players

A planned esports tournament is to be moved, after protests over the United Arab Emirates’ record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

A petition signed by more than 13,000 listed its “serious LGBTQ+ issues”, including criminalising homosexuality.

Publisher Ubisoft holds three Rainbow Six Siege tournaments each year.

And the company says it will now “move the Six Major of August 2022 to another Rainbow Six esports region, with the exact location yet to be determined”.

In a tweet on the official Rainbow Six esport page, Ubisoft added it had heard “loud and clear that members of the international Siege community question this choice”.

I’m proud our community got loud, I’m happy to see where we have ended here.

I hope one day to see human rights supported in the region, without it having to be backed by international companies & pressure. The UAE has changed tons in the past 20yrs. Hopefully more in future. 🏳️‍🌈

— Emi | Fluke (@CaptainFluke) February 22, 2022

The company had initially defended the decision to stage the event in the UAE, announced on Sunday, 20 February, saying it had held extensive discussions with the UAE government and local esports partners and teams to ensure”anyone of all gender identities, sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds, or other individual traits, would be welcomed”.

But it immediately provoked anger from the community.

And the petition called it “short-sighted” and “borderline insulting to our identity”.

One of the top esports titles, with more than 70 million registered players worldwide, Rainbow Siege has gay characters and professional players.

Commentator Emi “Fluke” Donaldson tweeted she was “proud our community got loud”.

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