Valve has announced that it is suspending ticket sales for spectators to its upcoming The International event for DOTA 2.
The company made the announcement in a new post on the game’s official website. It reads: “We have been carefully evaluating the continued rise of Covid rates in Romania, as well as the resulting introduction of new local restrictions in Bucharest. To ensure the safety of all players, talent, and production staff participating in the event, we have decided to refund all ticket sales for The International 2021.”
“We wanted nothing more than to welcome fans live to the event,” they added. “But we can no longer do so in a way that allows us to prioritize the health and well-being of both audience members and participants. Those who purchased tickets will be issued a full refund automatically.”
The International 2021 was announced back in July, after Valve were forced to cancel last year’s iteration due to the global pandemic. While traditionally taking place in Sweden, it was relocated to Romania after the Swedish Sports Federation elected to not recognise e-sports in its list of sports. This meant it wasn’t eligible to be exempt from restrictions for large gatherings as part of the country’s COVID-19 response.
Valve say The International 2021 games will still go ahead without live spectators, with the best DOTA 2 players in the world competing from October 7 with the group stages. The top teams will then proceed to the Main Event stage on October 12 followed by the Grand Final on October 17. The event will still be streamed around the world on the game’s official channels & via Steam.
To ensure the safety of all players, talent, and production staff participating in the event, we have decided to refund all ticket sales for the live audience at The International 2021 — https://t.co/JOZQzxZ8Sf pic.twitter.com/77xnfvC5kv
— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) October 3, 2021