Players struggle with visa issues heading into ESWC
With ESWC's big Counter-Strike tournament approaching this weekend in Montreal, the struggles of a few Russian players to make their way to the event has highlighted the continuing immigration problem in esports.
Earlier this week, Eastern European team Natus Vincere announced it was running into problems obtaining visas from Canadian immigration officials for its two Russian players: Denis “Seized” Kostin and Egor “Flamie” Vasilyev. If the pair weren’t able to resolve the issue, the side would have to bring in two former players from Ukraine to play in their stead.
The problem wasn’t restricted to Natus Vincere. Fellow Eastern European side Flipside Tactics announced shortly after that its own Russian team member, Georgi “World Edit” Yaskin, also hadn't secured a Canadian visa. Flipside’s solution was both practical and surprising: The team turned to American talent Spencer “Hiko” Martin as their substitute.
With that taken care of, eyes turned back to Natus Vincere this morning in anticipation of news about Kostin and Vasilyev. Things initially seemed dire.
But not all was lost. A mere two hours later, the situation had changed, and the Russian pair were set for a hurried flight to Montreal.
Just like that, Na`Vi was able to assemble its full roster for the tournament. That's much to the relief of event organizers who have already dealt with multiple top teams canceling they attempt to navigate the crowded Counter-Strike: Global Offensive calendar of qualifiers, online leagues and live tournaments.
The brief saga serves as a reminder. No matter how far the esports industry has come, the basic act of moving a player from one country to another can still be difficult. League organizers across the board are looking to bring more of their events to North America, just as ESWC has done. And as that happens, teams better make sure their prepared.
Image via ESWC
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