NAVI’s CEO apologizes for messy situation surrounding replacement of GeneRaL on Dota 2 roster

He also said the other players will be releasing a statement soon.

dota 2 navi zayac
Image via Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere came under fire for its recent decision to replace Viktor “GeneRaL” Nigrini with RAMZES on its Dota 2 roster ahead of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit’s second season of regional leagues. 

Many players and personalities in the CIS region called the decision a “strong blow” to NAVI’s reputation and that of some of the players on the roster. In response, NAVI CEO Yevhen Zolotarov made a statement on the situation. 

With the current roster, NAVI signed the full FlyToMoon roster on a trial basis and then made it official in December. The organization gave the players “complete freedom of action,” including the roster’s personnel, which, according to Zolotarov, is not how the organization tends to operate.

“This goes against the way we work with other disciplines, but our traditional centralized management approaches in Dota unfortunately didn’t work,” Zolotarov said. “I personally kept Dota squads from performing substitutions dozens of times, persuaded to give one or another player another chance, etc. In the end, it didn’t end well.”

The only reason things were handled this way is because NAVi has failed to maintain a strong and consistent roster in recent years and wanted to try a different approach. 

Zolotarov said the players will explain why GeneRaL was replaced, but it had nothing to do with his level of play. 

“He is definitely one of the best offlaners in the region and not only, and it is humanly unpleasant for me that everything happened like this,”  Zolotarov said. “We still have a valid contract with him, and we are not going to break it.”

GeneRaL is able to freely sign with any team he wants to compete with, and NAVI are ready to cover part of the salary, according to Zolotarov. 

In his own comments on the situation, GeneRaL said he thought it was a joke at first, but the team informed him that RAMZES wrote to the team and the other players wanted to play with him.

GeneRaL clarified that Bogdan “Iceberg” Vasilenko didn’t actively participate in the decision, saying that it was the team’s coach, Andrey “Mag” Chipenko, and the remaining players that kicked him. He also called out his team captain Andrii “ALWAYSWANNAFLY” Bondarenko, because he broke his word that none of the players would be kicked from the roster during the season. 

“Before signing contracts with NAVI, we all gave our word that we would not kick anyone, no matter what the contract is,” GeneRaL said. “We are 100 percent playing at The International this season together, and no one is kicking anyone. ALWAYSWANNAFLY was the first to shout if someone was kicked. Guess they didn’t keep their word.”