SK Gaming have found themselves in a frustrating position after it’s been revealed that their jungler Trick will be ineligible to play at the 2020 World Championships due to administrative oversights from both the organisation and the player, according to a report from ESPN.
The issue lies with Trick being unable to obtain the necessary visa to compete in Shanghai. LEC officials contacted all teams within the league to acquire copies of players’ passports to begin the early vetting process for Chinese visas. This has become a higher priority this year for Riot due to the continuing COVID crisis, and Chinese scrutiny over in-person international events.
However, SK Gaming allegedly submitted their players’ passports close to the end of the deadline set by Riot for the end of July. During this process, Riot officials flagged that Trick’s passport was set to expire in less than 6-months; the minimum required timespan a passport must be valid for to apply for a Chinese visa. Trick - a South Korean national - would need to visit the South Korean embassy in Berlin for an early renewal, but Riot were unable to change the deadline to allow for Trick to do this. As a result, SK Gaming has been told that their former MVP jungler will not be eligible to play at Worlds should the team make it.
(Picture: SK Gaming)
With SK Gaming making playoffs and Europe sending an additional, fourth team to Worlds this year, there is every reason to be hopeful as an SK fan that the team can make it to the coveted international event. However, contingencies for Trick’s absence now have to be made. Recently signed substitute jungler Marc “Canee” Behrend, is said to be stepping in as a replacement should the team clinch a spot to represent the LEC.
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Trick’s unfortunate visa issues are yet another incident in a tumultuous year for League of Legends’ esports scene. Spring Splits around the globe were halted while remote broadcast options were put in place, and it was only recently that Worlds was confirmed to be going ahead at all, especially after rumours abounded that China would be grouping LoL in with other international events they had postponed due to COVID. While SK Gaming and Trick’s plight are narrower problems, it once again highlights the constraints the global situation places esports under.