If you’re a team set to compete for millions of dollars in prize money, the last thing you want is some paperwork standing in your way.
Unfortunately for the Chinese Dota 2 team CIS, the U.S. has denied visas for their manager and all but one of the players. The runner-up in the Chinese regional qualifier was supposed to be ready to compete against the other regional runner-ups in the $10 million tournament The International in Seattle on July 8.
This is, unfortunately, not unusual in the world of esports, and has plagued the International specifically. Two years ago, MUFC, a Malaysian team, had to drop out of the tournament entirely after it failed to secure visas for their players.
Ensuring that 16 teams from around the world, each with five players and at least one manager, get their proper visas is not not an easy task. And it’s one Valve has been working on since the event was announced. The developer has made no public comment on what happens should CIS be unable to attend, but in the past it has just moved down the list and invited whatever team was next in line for that region. This may prove problematic this year, as there is such little notice.
CIS has applied for their visas a second time and have reached out to Valve for help, the team wrote on Chinese social media website Weibo.
While the fate of the team is uncertain, the esports community can take solace in the fact that the plight extends to Olympians as well. In 2012, an Iranian table tennis player named Afshin Noroozi, who placed 65th at the 2008 Beijing games, failed to qualify for an E3 visa, an employment visa reserved for those of “extraordinary ability.”