The International 10 might be making a last-minute move to a venue outside of Stockholm, Sweden’s Avicii Arena following a vote by the Swedish government and the Swedish Sports Federation not to accept esports into the sports federation.
That decision, along with a subsequent denial of recognition by Sweden’s Minister of the Interior to reclassify TI as an elite sporting event, has made Valve start looking for “possible alternatives elsewhere in Europe” to host the event in August.
Since TI10 was initially postponed last April before being pushed to August 2021, Valve has been working with officials to facilitate a safe and successful event for the event’s return. This included working with groups like Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm, who assured Valve that TI10 would qualify for similar exemptions that other elite sporting events received.
That changed when the Swedish Sports Federation voted against accepting esports into the federation, leading to further talks and denials with Sweden’s Minister of the Interior. Because TI would not be directly acknowledged under the SSF, players, talent, and staff attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for TI10 would likely be denied. The “absence of this official recognition” also would put decision making power into the hands of individual border agents for anyone traveling to the event from countries outside the EU.
Valve filed a direct appeal to the Swedish government on June 9, but “they were unable to provide assistance,” according to the company’s report. There was a follow-up request to reconsider the appeal, but no resolution has been made clear yet.
Because of this, Valve is searching for accessible options within EU that would function as good last-minute hosting locations for the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the last two years, though the company has not entirely ruled Sweden out since there is still time to work toward a solution.
“We remain committed to hosting The International this year in a way that is both safe for all involved, and properly celebrates the players and fans of Dota 2,” Valve said. “We will be communicating what we find out as soon as we are able. In the meantime, TI qualifiers will still be happening on the originally scheduled dates starting June 23.”
For now, TI10 is still set to be held from Aug. 5 to 15, with the best teams in the world battling it out for their share of the more than $40 million prize pool.