ESL and Valve have announced that they are postponing the third Major Championship of the Dota Pro Circuit 2019-20, ESL One Los Angeles, due to US President Donald Trump's travel ban from Europe.
In a statement posted on its website and social media pages, ESL noted that the recently imposed restrictions and growing COVID-19 situation were the main reasons for the decision.
"While we were very excited to bring the first-ever Dota 2 major to Los Angeles, the safety and well-being of our players, attendees, coaches, partners, and ESL staff must come first," part of it read.
Prior to the cancellation, the organizer was reportedly mulling to push through with the tournament without any live audience as a safety precaution against the virus. The decision to cancel came a few hours after when Trump announced the travel ban.
According to esports insider Rod "Slasher" Breslau, European teams were worried about how they would return home.
ESL said earlier this month that they would continue the event after coordinating with Los Angeles officials regarding the situation.
Ten Filipinos were set to compete in the million-dollar tournament. This included Cebu-based team Team Adroit, which had the opportunity to earn crucial points for the competitive season.
ESL is cooperating with Valve to reschedule the event and contact attendees for ticket refunds.
Doomed from the start?
Even before the start, questions were already raised about how the organizer and developer will respond to the impending crisis. In his podcast last month, former The International champion and current Ninjas in Pyjamas captain Peter "ppd" Dager was having doubts about the tournament after the imposed travel ban from China. Four Chinese teams were scheduled to compete in the tournament.
Days prior to the Main Event, StarLadder Minor winners Team Aster were vocal about their visa problems. They had three players with such issues, two of which had never been to the US before ESL One Los Angeles. According to a Weibo post, Team Aster failed to process their visas in China before flying to Ukraine for the Minor, after the local US Embassy suspended applications post-outbreak.
Visa problems have long hounded esports, with instances of teams failing to outright attend tournaments. Recently, Team Adroit announced on Twitter that their captain Marvin "Boomy" Rushton was denied a US visa. It was the same with CIS squad Virtus.pro's carry Zaur "Cooman" Shakhmurzaev.
With ESL One Los Angeles on hold, teams must now look ahead to the next Major/Minor qualifiers scheduled from March 29 to April 3.