In order to put on the the second Dota Pro Circuit Major of the 2021 season, WePlay Esports had to organize private flights for all of the Chinese teams that were set to compete due to a change in EU travel policies.
The WePlay AniMajor, which ended on June 13 with PSG.LGD winning the event, went off without any issues in Kyiv, Ukraine. Additional problems started popping up once the Chinese teams were preparing to go home after the Major, however, due to a change in international travel restrictions enacted by the Chinese government.
Even though the teams would be entering the country via the same private flights they left China in, WePlay said the new restrictions made it “no longer possible for the teams to return home” using the same methods. Because of this, the Chinese teams remained in Kyiv, housed in the same hotel they stayed at while competing in the AniMajor.
WePlay reached out to organizations and contacts within the Chinese government, including within multiple city halls and the Chinese embassy, to try and find a solution, even proposing that the teams could remain in Kyiv until The International 10 and then travel directly to Sweden to compete, or potentially compete in regional qualifiers from Ukraine.
“This turned out to be impossible due to the difficulties in obtaining Schengen visas for Chinese citizens who are outside their country,” WePlay said. “We did our best to help the teams leave the country and return home.”
Not only did further visa issues complicate that option, but Valve has also entirely pulled TI10 out of Stockholm due to issues brought on following a vote by the Swedish government and the Swedish Sports Federation to not accept esports into the sports federation. Despite all of these problems, several Chinese Dota fans helped the teams get home by helping the organizations purchase tickets for the player’s return flights.
Invictus Gaming specifically thanked one fan who helped them acquire all six tickets for its roster to get back home safely and with minimal complications.
“Thank you Lisa for your help in purchasing all the tickets,” iG’s manager Zhao “DayDream” Yinqing said. “Nowadays plane tickets are very limited during special times and different agencies and channels will definitely create price differentials. It wasn’t easy to go back, but we got all six tickets in one go within a short time after we made the flight request, which allowed us to spend the last few days in Kyiv quite at ease.”
With this announcement, WePlay has confirmed that all four Chinese teams have made it back home safely. Now, iG, LGD, Team Aster, and Vici Gaming can all begin to prepare for TI10, while the remaining teams in the region prepare to fight for one of the remaining invites in the regional qualifiers, which begin on July 7.