Southeast Asian Dota 2 team GeekFam has had to withdraw from its participation in ESL One Hamburg due to ongoing visa issues.
Two weeks ago, GeekFam successfully qualified for ESL One Hamburg 2019, an event taking place outside of the upcoming 2019-20 Dota Pro Circuit. The team finished the qualifier with a clean 3-0 sweep versus SG Dragons to claim the coveted ticket to Hamburg.
ESL One tournaments have a lot at stake. With a $300,000 USD prize pool, top-tier teams do not take this tournament lightly. Fans might even see another MVP take home a brand-new Mercedes Benz car, as has been the case in the past.
However, visa issues can always be a hindrance for teams and players looking to achieve their goals internationally. The industry requires a lot of traveling and pro esports players and personalities often face visa challenges. Each petition is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and those review processes do not guarantee approval.
GeekFam’s denied visa application chalked up another case on this prevailing issue in esports.
ESL has since announced that European team Alliance will replace GeekFam in the tournament. The newly formed Alliance roster recently qualified for the MDL Chengdu Major. The team took the first spot after knocking down the new Team Liquid, who themselves formerly played under the Alliance banner, in the upper bracket finals.
Team Liquid bounced back and stomped Ninjas in Pyjamas in a 2-0 fashion. The MDL Chengdu Major is the first Dota Pro Circuit major tournament and the main event will be getting underway in November.
Alliance seemed to be a good replacement, though the team does not represent the Southeast Asia region. Fans are excited to see a rematch between the ex-Alliance team at Team Liquid and the new one currently representing the former TI championship organization.
“As much as we wanted to invite another SEA team, it would unfortunately be impossible for them to obtain a VISA on such short notice,” ESL said.
ESL One Hamburg 2019 will begin on October 25 at Barclaycard Arena, Germany.