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DOTA 2’s International will likely move from Sweden because the government doesn’t think esports are real sports

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What just happened? The argument over whether esports should be classified as a sport brings plenty of passionate voices, but it seems Sweden is firmly in the “no, it shouldn’t” camp. And because the country’s government refuses to classify esports as a sport, the DOTA 2 world championships are unlikely to be held in Stockholm.

Valve writes that it started working with Sweden back in 2019 to ensure the tenth DOTA International tournament could be held in the country during 2020. The pandemic ensured that never happened, but the company was given assurances by Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm that this year’s Championships would qualify for the same exemptions as other elite sporting events.

However, the Swedish Sports Federation two weeks ago voted not to accept esports into the sports federation. Valve then appealed to Sweden’s Minister of the Interior to reclassify The International – Dota 2 Championships as an elite sporting event, only for the request to be denied.

Failing to secure the designation means anyone attempting to gain a visa for travel to Sweden, including players, talent, and staff, would likely be denied. It also means individual border agents would be making decisions about entry for those traveling from outside the EU who do not typically need a visa.

Valve has twice appealed to the Swedish government to reconsider but to no avail. “As a result, and in light of the current political situation in Sweden, we have started looking for possible alternatives elsewhere in Europe to host the event this year,” it wrote.

Image credit: Roman Kosolapov

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