The biggest Dota 2 event in the esports calendar, The International, is in the middle of a major crisis. The restrictive ruling from the Swedish government could mean that the pillar tournament could be in danger of not happening. Valve now has plans to change the location of the event.
Valve had already planned to host the TI10 in Sweden back in 2019. That is when they began communicating with the government for their 2020 season. Due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, the 2020 event was postponed. This was a sensible move; Valve wanted the biggest esports event in their calendar to be hosted in-person for the benefit of the fans and the teams.
Due to the postponement, they moved the date of the event to 2021. According to a post released by the company,
“When the global pandemic necessitated a postponement, we doubled our efforts to work in tandem with officials there to make sure we provided them with everything they needed to make this a safe and successful event for everyone.”
They believed that they were doing all that they could to meet the stringent requirements set out by Sweden and their host city, Stockholm.
Like many other countries, Sweden has exemptions for elite sporting events that would allow the participants to enter the country during the pandemic.
According to the news post, “despite previous reassurances, we were informed two weeks ago that the Swedish Sports Federation had just voted not to accept esports into the sports federation.” This meant that The International and the esports teams taking part would not be classified as a sport and would therefore not be able to take advantage of the elite sporting event exemptions. Obviously, this will put a damper on the event and if the issue is not resolved, we could see some pretty major changes to DPC predictions.
Valve did appeal to Sweden’s Minister of the Interior to reclassify the event. Unfortunately, their request was immediately denied.
According to their news post,
“With the Minister of the Interior failing to recognize The International – Dota 2 Championships as an elite sporting event, anyone attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for TI10 (including players, talent, and staff) would be denied. The absence of this official recognition also means individual border agents would be making decisions about entry for those traveling to the event from countries outside the EU who do not typically need a visa to enter Sweden.”
As a result of this ruling and the uncertainty for the teams and the fans regarding travel, Valve has made the decision to look for a new location for their event. They are still in communication with the Swedish government, but they believe that they will be able to hold the event somewhere in Europe. They have yet to announce any other potential options for locations.
Other TI10 news
The qualifiers for The International will still be going ahead on the originally scheduled dates starting June 23rd. If you want to take a risk-free bet on these qualifiers you can take part in their official predictions on the winners of each region. If you are right, you will win 1000 shards. Shards are an in-game currency in Dota 2, making this a sort of low-level crypto betting option.
Regardless of the issues facing Valve and the Dota 2 esports scene, it looks like they are determined to present The International in 2021.