With tournament defections at an all-time high in the Dota community, yet another organization is putting its foot down. This time, it’s a team throwing down the gauntlet.
Just ten days after I-League became the first tournament to formally penalize an organization for withdrawing (a decision that was later reversed), Virtus.Pro manager Anton “Sneg” Cherepennikov took tournament organizers to task. The Russian CEO chastised ESEA, Excellent Moscow Cup, Starladder, Copenhagen Games, and I-League specifically for unpaid debts to tournament prize-winners.
The sums, according to Cherepennikov, are not insignificant. “Tournaments owe (participants) huge amounts of money,” he said in a statement on the team’s website. “Particularly, I am talking about six-digit numbers in USD.”
In response, Cherepennikov established strict criteria for tournament organizers if they hope to see Virtus.Pro or Virtus.Pro Polar‘s participation, no small threat considering the recent success both squads have seen. These criteria require that tournament organizers fulfill all back debts and establish contracts outlining participation details, payment plans, and penalties for withdrawal.
Cherepennikov was also tongue-in-cheek about recent tournament withdrawals. “Dropping from such tournaments is disrespectful towards the audience that bought tickets or just waits for our performance on streams,” he said. Virtus.pro intends to fulfill commitments to current tournaments with outstanding debts.
Cherepennikov later recanted his criticisms of ESEA, Copenhagen Games, and Starladder and its tournament organizer, Vitalii “V1lat” Volochai, but pulled no punches when addressing other Eastern European organizers. “I must point out that with such a strict approach Virtus.Pro will probably not participate in any CIS league because their organizers are the biggest debtors and scammers.”
The statement is a shot across the bow in a conflict that continues to put tournament organizers and over-scheduled teams at odds with one another. With tournament withdrawals showing no signs of slowing and standards for tournament organizers rising by the day, Dota fans will have to hope that this friction is ultimately productive as their beloved esport continues to build its long-term foundation.
Photo via dbgg1979/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Correction: The original article mentioned that Cherepennikov recanted his opinions of Starladder alone. In fact, he also recanted his opinions of ESEA and Copenhagen Games. We apologize for the mistake.