FunPlus Phoenix won’t be flying to Reykjavík, Iceland for VCT Masters in April.
On account of travel restrictions in Ukraine and Russia, and COVID-19 regulations, the VALORANT team are unable to field a roster for the event and will therefore be replaced by Team Liquid, Riot Games revealed in a statement on social media today.
“Travel restrictions in Ukraine and Russia, as well as existing COVID-19 regulations, continue to create numerous challenges for international travel,” Riot said. “Our events, competitive operations, and mobility teams worked to find solutions to ensure the FunPlus Phoenix roster could attend Masters Reykjavík. These options included extending the roster lock window, relaxing emergency substitute rules, and liaising with the relevant government officials to secure visas and travel permissions. Unfortunately, and through no fault of their own, FunPlus Phoenix will not be able to field a complete roster in Reykjavík.”
FPX triumphed in EMEA Stage One Challengers with a roster that included two Russian players, Shao and SUYGETSU, and one Ukrainian player, ANGE1. With the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and many sanctions being imposed on Russian airlines, traveling to Europe from the country continues to be challenging and complicated.
Liquid, the team that placed fourth in the playoffs, will compete at Masters Reykjavík in place of FPX. “Team Liquid will be invited to participate at Masters Reykjavík as representatives of the EMEA region. This will ensure that all three EMEA slots are occupied by teams from the region,” Riot explained.
On March 10, FPX was in the spotlight for another reason. The organization wasn’t planning to pay ANGE1 a full salary during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a report by Dot Esports. The org, however, later apologized and wrote its wrongs by paying the player his full salary.
Team Liquid will join EMEA representatives G2 Esports and Fnatic at Masters Reykjavík on April 10.
Update March 28th, 8:15 am CT: ANGE1, Shao, and SUYGETSU are unable to leave their countries for Iceland due to travel restrictions, FPX confirmed in a statement. Ardiis is also not able to play due to recently testing positive for COVID-19. “We have been actively communicating with Riot to explore possible solutions to keep our spot in the Master tournament… Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to find a solution.”