Valve have rescinded the Major designation of Dota 2 tournament Galaxy Battles II, citing recently implemented regulations for esports athletes under Filipino law.
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“Based on information we’ve recently confirmed regarding new government regulations for esports players entering the Philippines,” the Dota 2 blog says, “we have decided to rescind the tournament’s Major designation, including the Pro Circuit qualifying points, for the Galaxy Battles 2018 tournament. This is based on what we feel are unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players, as a condition to enter the country. The tournament itself may still proceed, but without any involvement of Valve or the Dota Pro Circuit.”
Recent changes to Filipino law categorize esports players as “e-gamers,” subject to the same licenses as athletes in traditional sports. According to the government’s website, requirements for athlete licensing include photo ID and medical conditions such as drug tests. Dota 2 fans – including some from the Philippines – on Reddit speculate that the current president’s aggressive anti-drug policies (which some suggest amount to human rights violations) would be a strong factor in Valve’s decision.
Valve say they’re working with tournament organizers “to find a way to run a Major with the invited and qualifying teams, including the Pro Circuit points that would have been available in Galaxy Battles 2018.”