Game developer, publisher, and digital distribution company Valve has announced that its flagship Dota 2 esports event, The International, may no longer be able to be hosted in Stockholm, Sweden in August.
According to the announcement, this is due to the Swedish Sports Federation voting to not accept esports into the federation.
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As a result, The International has not been qualified as an elite sporting event which means that anyone attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for the event would be denied, due to the country’s guidelines.
The International 10 (TI10) was originally set to take place in Sweden last year. However, due to the pandemic, the event was postponed to 2021. Valve also stated that throughout 2020 the publisher had been reassured by Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm that The International would qualify for the same exemptions that other elite sporting events have received.
Per the release, the voting procedure took place a couple of weeks ago and Valve has since taken various steps to ensure that The International 10 remained in Sweden.
Following the Swedish Sports Federation’s decision, Valve asked Sweden’s Minister of the Interior to reclassify The International – Dota 2 Championships as an elite sporting event. The request was denied.
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The announcement from Value also stated: “We filed an appeal directly with the Swedish government on June 9th, but they were unable to provide assistance. On June 14th we followed up asking them to reconsider, and they have so far been unable to offer a resolution.
“As a result, and in light of the current political situation in Sweden, we have started looking for possible alternatives elsewhere in Europe to host the event this year, in case the Swedish government is unable to accommodate The International – Dota 2 Championships as planned.”
Exact locations within Europe have not been revealed but Valve did also state that qualifiers for The International will still go ahead as planned.
Esports Insider says: It’s a shame that The International looks likely to relocate, especially given that the reason is because the event has not been recognised as ‘elite’ within the country. We’ll keep our eyes peeled as to where TI10 will relocate to, or indeed whether Sweden will reverse its decision.