Organizers of ESL Poland instructed various Rainbow Six Siege pro players to lie to Japanese border officials in order to enter the country to compete at the Pro League finals, according to a video report from theScore esports.
Problems with borders and visas are unfortunately too common in the world of esports. But it’s rare to see a problem like this unfold as it allegedly has with ESL's Rainbow Six Pro League.
On the November 9-10 weekend, Ubisoft and ESL held the Rainbow Six Siege Pro League finals in Tokoname, Japan. According to theScore, ESL instructed players to lie at the border to Japanese border agents to avoid visa issues.
Specifically, they were allegedly told to lie about the nature of their visit, by claiming they were traveling to spectate the event rather than compete in it. According to the video, a business visa is required to compete at the event, which some players did not have.
Emails released by theScore and redacted of all personal information, show “various general managers” of pro R6 Siege teams asking ESL Poland, the division of ESL that exclusively runs pro R6 Siege, what to do when they arrive at the border.
The reply, reportedly from ESL Poland management, instructs the team to not mention participating in the tournament, and even recommends that the team manager “research some touristy places” to tell the custom officer when asked what they’re doing in Japan.
The video claims that players, coaches, and casters were all told to lie in order to get into Japan. Another alleged email shows that ESL Poland gave the casters similar advice, instructing them to say they’ll be “watching” an esports tournament, and not to use words like “work” or “job.”
On the R6 Pro League subreddit, R6 caster Parker ‘Interro’ Mackay responded to the report by addressing FaZe Clan and Ninjas in Pyjamas’ visa situation, where each team was forced to substitute players that couldn’t attend because of visa issues.
Interro’s claim from his stream prior to the Pro League finals was that ESL wasn’t solely at fault for the NiP/FaZe situation, because it’s on the teams and managers to get visas sorted out. However, this point is refuted by leaked emails in theScore video and by claims from Latin American players that allege ESL told teams that they would take care of the visas.
When asked directly if he was instructed by ESL to lie at the border, Interro replied: “Simple answer - no.”
ESL responded to the allegations with an apology regarding the hectic visa situation, said that the tourist visa approach “was considered,” and said they attempted to secure “last-minute” visas for NiP and FaZe players.
Both NiP and FaZe were eliminated from the Pro League finals in the first round in 2-0 losses. Natus Vincere would go on to win the event.