Valve is looking into alternative sites in Europe to host the 2021 Dota 2 championship, commonly known as The International, because of an issue related to securing visas from the original host nation, Sweden.
In a statement Monday, Valve said that tourism partners Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm had reassured the company since 2019 that The International 10 (or TI10) would qualify for the necessary exemptions for esports players from other countries.
But two weeks ago, the Swedish Sports Federation voted not to recognize esports as a sport and therefore TI10 would not be classified as an “elite sporting event,” which was vital for getting visa exemptions in place.
Valve appealed to the Swedish Minister of the Interior and was “immediately denied,” the statement said.
“With the Minister of the Interior failing to recognize The International — Dota 2 Championships as an elite sporting event, anyone attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for TI10 (including players, talent, and staff) would be denied,” Valve’s statement read in part. “The absence of this official recognition also means individual border agents would be making decisions about entry for those traveling to the event from countries outside the EU who do not typically need a visa to enter Sweden.”
TI10 was scheduled to be played in Stockholm from Aug. 5-15. Qualifiers for the event begin on Wednesday. The International’s total prize pool exceeds $40 million.
–Field Level Media