Cloud9 has decided to withdraw from the Intel Extreme Masters League of Legends world championship event being held later this month in Katowice, Poland.
According to a press release, the decision to forfeit its well-earned spot is largely based on immigration regulations that were recently placed by President Donald Trump for the United States.
While Cloud9 is a North American esports organization, the League of Legends roster includes three players that hail from outside the country. Hence, there is growing uncertainty that the players might be banned from entering the United States despite having valid visas.
“Although we would have loved to see them live, we understand their reasons and wish them the best of luck in the NA LCS,” said an IEM official.
As a result, the Cloud9 League of Legends roster will take this opportunity to invest more time in practicing for the ongoing League Championship Series (LCS). It currently holds the top spot in the team rankings, having secured an unbeaten streak of six wins in a row in the Spring Split.
IEM will soon announce a replacement team to fill the empty spot of Cloud9.
Last month, President Trump issued an executive order that restricts citizens of several countries from entering the United States of America. The new immigration policy bars entry from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. Importantly, anyone holding dual citizenship with any of the seven aforementioned countries are also not permitted to enter the United States during the ban period.
There is growing concern that the new immigration rules are going to tarnish the esports scene this year. Several members from the fighting game community have already voiced despair for their competitive careers. Cloud9, placing within the top 8 at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, is the first League of Legends team to be affected by the controversial policy.
It’s unfortunate that Cloud9 had to drop out from the upcoming tournament. Considering its current form and dominance in the North American competitive circuit, we were likely going to see good results from the team later this month. As it is, being barred from returning to the United States holds an even larger risk for the team’s esports future.