The fairytale run of a Mongolian Counter-Strike team is coming to an end thanks to visa issues.
The MongolZ, who shocked the rest of the field at IEM Taipei last month, have been forced out of the MLG Columbus qualifier.
The offline qualifier, which will decide the eight remaining teams for the $250,000 MLG hosted Counter-Strike major, is due to get underway in just three days. MongolZ had hoped to appeal the visa decision, but a third and final application was rejected.
At this late stage, it is unclear if MLG will contact another team to fill the spot or if MongolZ group will go ahead with three teams. The team had been due to face Counter Logic Gaming, SK Gaming and Vexed Gaming, with the top two teams in the group advancing to the major.
The decision letter, posted on Twitter by the team’s manager, stated that the team had “not demonstrated that you have the ties that will compel you to return to your home country after your travel to the United States.”
This reasoning is not uncommon in esports, and in the U.S. in particular. Given the age and relative lack of educational and work experience of many pros, they are categorized as having a high risk of wanting to remain in the United States indefinitely. Rick Fox‘ League Championship Series team, Echo Fox, had to play the first three weeks of this season without a full lineup due to visa issues. Brazilian side Brave Ozone pulled out of the 2015 Heroes of the Storm Americas Championship for the same reason as MongolZ, with a similar explanation from the authorities.
Photo by Helena Kristiansson via ESL/Flickr (used with permission, all rights reserved)