Steven R. November 4, 2018
Ninjas In Pyjamas will be forced to send a substitute player with its Dota 2 team for the upcoming Kuala Lumpur Major.
The organization revealed on its official website that offlane player Neta "33" Shapira would not be able to attend the event due to visa issues preventing him from traveling to Malaysia. Filling in for him is Team Liquid's Ivan Borislavov "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov.
While visa issues are sometimes an issue for international esports events, this is a particularly difficult case.
Per NiP team captain Peter “PPD” Dager on Twitter, the reason 33 is unable to attend the event is because he is an Israeli citizen. The Muslim-majority country has had tense relations with Israel for decades, an issue previously raised when international sporting events have been held there in the past.
Making matters worse for NiP, Dota Pro Circuit regulations state that the organization will be slapped with a massive penalty for playing with a substitute. Per the rules, the team will cede 40 percent of any qualifying points it earns at the event. With the Kuala Lumpur Major accounting for a large chunk of the points available for the season, this could be a serious hindrance for NiP’s hopes of earning a direct invitation to The International 2019.
Given the reason for 33’s inability to attend the Kuala Lumpur Major, and the fact that teams fielding Israeli players were not made aware of the fact that the DPC season would feature events in Malaysia, PPD called for NiP to not receive a penalty for the event.
“We are incredibly lucky to have MinD_ContRoL for the event however I feel as if it is unfair for us to incur a DPC point penalty,” PPD said. “We emailed Valve weeks ago but no one has responded to us. Hopefully by stating something publicly someone might see it and give us an answer.”
The Kuala Lumpur Major begins November 9.