Riot Games is making concerted attempts to get VCS teams to Iceland in time for Worlds 2021, according to reports from Vietnamese media.
With less than three weeks until the start of Worlds 2021, Riot Games is still attempting to find a way to allow representatives from Vietnam’s regional league, the VCS, to attend the tournament.
Originally reported by Vietnamese outlet thethao.vn, copies of letters sent to two VCS teams by Riot Games show that the game developer has formally invited the teams to Iceland, and is willing to cover the cost of several expenses, such as travel fare and logistics expenses.
VCS at Worlds?
The September 9 announcement that Worlds 2021 was being relocated to Iceland included confirmation that due to the ongoing pandemic, the two representatives from the Vietnamese VCS league would not be able to attend the event. Worlds would be reduced to 22 teams, and the main stage spot reserved for the VCS first seed would be given to LEC third seed Rogue.
This was met with sadness and anger from many in the VCS community, as it marked the third consecutive international event that the region would miss out on. Similar reasoning had led to VCS teams not attending Worlds 2020 or MSI 2021.
Practice 10+ hours a day for almost everyday the whole summer until we know that we can't make it to Worlds and then our split ended just like that, 3.5 months of practicing , 0 competitive game.
— Đỗ Duy Khánh (@lolLevi97) September 9, 2021
However, letters obtained by Vietnamese media outlet thethao.vn show that Riot is still working to ensure Vietnamese attendance at Worlds 2021. The letters were subsequently published on Twitter by Dat Nguyen, social media manager of the VCS’ Saigon Buffalo Esports.
— Dat Nguyen (@ThanhDat712) September 15, 2021
The letters, dated September 1, formally invite GAM Esports and Saigon Buffalo Esports, who finished first and second respectively in the VCS Spring split, to attend Worlds. The VCS canceled its Summer split because of the global health crisis, which meant the top teams from Spring were chosen as the league’s representatives.
Additionally, the letters outline the expenses that Riot will cover for the two VCS teams in attendance:
- Travel to and from Iceland
- Logistical costs such as luggage fees, travel insurance, etc.
- Legal fees such as visa applications
- Accommodation costs
- Any costs relating to quarantine
- Health insurance
- Food expenses
The offer indicates just how serious Riot is to try and ensure Vietnamese attendance at Worlds. But it is by no means a guarantee.
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The letters are dated September 1, with Riot offering to pay expenses starting on September 10. However, Riot still said in their September 9 Worlds update that the VCS would not be in attendance. Furthermore, while Riot is willing to cover the cost of visas, that does not mean visas will be issued to the traveling teams.
There is also a race against time – the play-in stage of Worlds begins on October 5, with Saigon Buffalo Esports due to compete in the four-day portion of the event.
While the release of these letters is promising, the status of VCS teams in regards to Worlds remains in limbo.