COVID-19’s not just running rampant among pro Dota 2 players. It’s also a serious problem among tournament organizers in the space.
The Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper, has confirmed with ONE Esports that a member of organization’s staff traveled to the ONE Esports Singapore Major while infected with COVID-19. The unnamed 28-year-old American staffer submitted a sample for testing in Romania, then traveled to the event. After their arrival, the sample came back as positive.
ONE Esports told the Straits Times that those close to the individual have been quarantined.
“The health and safety of the players, talent and all who are involved in this closed-door tournament, including the wider community, is of utmost importance to us. This case was detected through the screening protocols and stringent measures that were put in place to safeguard the health of our local community as well as the event participants,” ONE Esports said.
It is unclear how many individuals the person may have come into contact with as they traveled from Romania to Singapore. It is also unclear how many others the person may have come into contact with during the event.
The incident continues what has been a constant stream of news regarding the Singapore Major’s questionable handling of COVID-19 protocols for the event. The event is being run by ONE Esports and PGL.
Instead of implementing quarantine periods for competitors and staff upon arrival, tournament organizers opted to instead test people before they arrived and then promptly send them home after they lost. This approach has resulted in a host of problems, now including the possible spread of the disease as infected individuals were allowed to travel to and work at the event.
Alongside the human concern, these protocols have left the Singapore Major as less than a legitimate competition due to the withering effects of COVID-19.
Right from the beginning there were competitive integrity issues based on teams’ inability to practice or properly adjust to the different timezone. Worse yet, numerous teams have been forced to make last-minute substitutions due to positive tests, while Natus Vincere and beastcoast have been forced to withdraw from the competition.
Many have argued that these issues could have been avoided with better protocols. Numerous live sporting events have been held safely in the last six months, and the same goes for esports tournaments hosted in a live setting, including the 2020 League of Legends World Championship.
These events have typically been held in bubble settings, where all people associated with the events arrive and quarantine and minimize contact with anyone else during the event’s duration. It’s wholly unclear why the Singapore Major hasn’t utilized this approach, but it has caused a great deal of grief.