- The International 10 may have to relocate after Sweden refused to recognize esports
- This decision will cause a lot of travel issues as most foreign players will be denied entry to the country
- Valve will try to negotiate with the Swedish government and will look for another venue if the need should arise
Sweden has refused to recognize The International 10 as an elite sporting event, sending Valve’s organizational efforts into disarray.
Swedish Government Voted Against Esports
The International 10, one of the most exciting Dota 2 esports events, was originally planned for Stockholm. However, the long-awaited tournament may now have to relocate. This was resulted by the Swedish government’s refusal to recognize esports as a part of the Swedish Sports Federation.
The original venue was Stockholm’s hemispherical Avicii Arena. However, the Swedish government and the Swedish Sports Federation stepped in and voted against accepting esports as professional sporting events. The vote was also supported by Sweden’s Minister of the Interior.
Valve didn’t give up and instead quickly started looking for a new venue. The company will have to act quickly as the event has been set for August. Moreover, it was already postponed once as it was first planned for April 2020 and got delayed for August 2021 because of the pandemic.
Sweden seemed like a good place to relaunch the competition. Valve collaborated with the Visit Stockholm and Stockholm Live groups to prepare a safe venue for the event. The groups believed that The International would qualify as an elite sporting event and will therefore receive the same benefits.
However, the lack of official recognition by the Swedish Sports Federation will also revoke the chances of those benefits, which would have included travel visas. Even if Valve proceeds to host the event in the country, it is likely there will be a lot of denied visa requests, especially when non-European players are concerned.
Valve appealed to the Swedish government to reconsider its stance on June 9 but to no avail.
Searching For A Solution
Valve will not give up easily and will try to negotiate with the Swedish government, but in case the parties fail to reach an agreement, the company will pick another European country as a hub for The International 10. It will be a bit difficult for the company as there are less than two months remaining to find a venue and secure player accommodation. However, Valve is hellbent on not failing its community and will do everything in its power to secure a safe venue and host the event properly.
WePlay Esports commented on Valve’s post and suggested using the former organization’s own arena in Kyiv, Ukraine. It was just recently used for the AniMajor, so it’s entirely possible that accepting WePlay’s suggestion will save Valve a lot of effort. Natus Vincere also suggested Kyiv as a solution.
As of the time of this writing, no decision has been made by Valve, so we can only wait and see. However, the company hasn’t announced any delays yet – The International is still expected to take place between August 5 and 15, with the qualifiers starting tomorrow, June 23.