Many Russian players may be unable to take part in the pivotal qualifiers.
As the war in Ukraine continues and sanctions on Russia increase, visa restrictions for people from the country have been increased. As a result, CSGO players from the region are finding it difficult to obtain international passes to attend the IEM Road to Rio Regional Major Ranking (RMR) in Malta.
There are four teams scheduled to attend the RMRs who have Russian players — 1WIN, K23, Benched Heroes and Aurora. In light of the new regulations, they may not just be missing some players at the event, but be unable to play outright. For now, this only affects the Rio Major, but the problem could extend to other events should the situation in the world remain unchanged.
The Visa Situation
Updated guidelines for visa processing, which were instated on September 9, have given visa processing consulates to de-prioritize any kind of non-essential travel into European countries from Russia. Moreover, they have also increased the decision-making period from 15 days for other countries to 45 days for the warring nation, with additional documents supporting the application also being required in many cases.
As reported by cybersport.ru, Aurora currently lacks visas for their manager, coach, and one of their players. 1WIN, meanwhile, only has them for two players. Benched Heroes player Owen “smooya” Butterfield stated that two of their players might also miss out, but as one of them hails from Turkey, his situation is a separate case. This includes the youngster Eugene “Aunkere” Karyat, who Tweeted about the matter.
Hey friends.. Probably I will miss my dream RMR MALTA
I have some issues with VISA but trying to fix it rn😎
I have a chance to come in game day for example or day before game vs NAVI 😛
— Eugene Karyat (@Aunkere) September 23, 2022
The ESL rulebook states that any substitutes will have to have been registered by teams by the September 8 deadline, which means that many teams may have to withdraw under the circumstances. If a sub wasn’t registered, coaches can be considered substitutes, but not many coaches are in the shape to play at the highest level.
ESL’s rulebook doesn’t offer much flexibility; only one substitute is permitted, and they must have been submitted before the roster lock on Sept. 8. With the changes to visas occurring on September 9, it’s a difficult situation for teams to find themselves in.
In the event certain teams cannot attend, replacement teams will be invited as per their placement in the final open qualifier. That being said, while Illuminar and Forward are next in line for qualification, the last 8 teams of the qualifier were tied at 9-16th place. Meaning if four teams withdraw or are disqualified, the question of who else will attend becomes a very real conundrum. As for seeding in the event that replacement teams are invited in, they will take up the seed of the team they are replacing regardless of their own.
Dust2.dk said that they approached ESL about the visa situation, and while the organization acknowledged the gravity of the situation, they did not comment on it.
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