FunPlus Phoenix will not fly to Reykjavik, Iceland for the VCT Masters in April.
Due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 regulations in Ukraine and Russia, the VALORANT team is unable to form a squad for the tournament, Riot Games announced on social media today. Therefore, FPX will be replaced by Team Liquid.
“The current COVID-19 regulations, along with travel restrictions in Ukraine and Russia, continue to pose multiple challenges for international travel,” Riot said. Said. “The organizers of our events and competitive tournaments have worked to find solutions to ensure that the FunPlus Phoenix squad can attend the Masters Reykjavik. These options included expanding the staffing lockdown window, relaxing emergency substitution rules, and liaising with relevant government officials to secure visas and travel permits. Unfortunately, FunPlus Phoenix won't be able to compete in Reykjavik without their own fault.”
FPX, with a roster of two Russian players, Shao and SUYGETSU, and a Ukrainian player, ANGE1, took victory at the EMEA Stage One Challengers. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the many sanctions imposed on Russian airlines, traveling from the country to Europe remains challenging and complex.
Liquid, the fourth-placed team in the playoffs, will compete in Masters Reykjavik instead of FPX. “Team Liquid will be invited to attend Masters Reykjavik as representatives of the EMEA region.” said Riot Games in a statement.
On March 10, FPX was on the agenda for another reason. According to a report by Dot Esports, the organization did not plan to pay ANGE1 full salary during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the organization later apologized and compensated for their mistake by paying the actor his full salary.
Team Liquid will join EMEA representatives G10 Esports and Fnatic at the Masters Reykjavík on April 2.
Update March 28: ANGE1, Shao and SUYGETSU cannot leave their country for Iceland due to travel restrictions, FPX confirmed in a statement. Ardiis is currently unable to play due to positive test results for COVID-19. “We are actively communicating with Riot to maintain our place in the Masters tournament and explore possible solutions… Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we could not find a solution.”