The organizers of Pax Arena came under harsh scrutiny from the VALORANT community on Thursday, after they disqualified es5 IGL Carlo "Dcop" Delsol from their VALORANT upper bracket Finals because he was not a resident of the United States. While organizers were in their rights to remove Dcop from their $10,000 USD tournament, many are upset with their decision because they directly invited Dcop to participate in the event from the start.
"I am completely fine with tournament organizers excluding Mexico from competition because there's a legal side that most of us are not aware of," Dcop said in a statement on Twitter. "but the fact that I got personally invited and played for a week just to get DQed in finals is infuriating."
The disqualification followed a minor server dispute, during which his Mexican nationality came up. According to the rules of the tournament, all participating members must be U.S. residents, so the tournament officials made the call to DQ Dcop.
VIRTUOSO, the team they were facing in the upper-bracket finals was, released a statement in which they expressed their discontentment with how the situation was handled and announced they were withdrawing from the competition to stand with ez5.
"We are not a team who looks to win by technicality and did everything in our power to provide alternative solutions," Virtuoso said in their statement. "We would like to apologize to the fans, both ours and EZ5's, who were looking forward to what would have surely been an incredible upper-final. As a result of this outcome, we have decided that continuing in the event would be a conflict with our morals and competitive spirit of our team and will be withdrawing."
For their part, ez5 responded saying "we had a miscommunication, it happens. Go next."
Pax Arena released a statement on Thursday evening regarding the situation.
"Upon being informed that a player was potentially ineligible to compete in the competition, PAX conducted an investigation into the eligibility of the player," Pax Arena officials explained. "Upon being presented by documentation, legal counsel for PAX determined that the player was ineligible to compete and a decision to disqualify that player was reached. . . Both ez5 and VIRTUOUSO reached the decision that they would forfeit their participation in the tournament."
To attempt to make up for the unsavory situation, Pax Arena announced they would invite both teams to compete in a show match outside the competition. Should the teams decide to participate, that show match would take place on Saturday, July 17th starting at around 12:00 PM PST.
A show match hosted by Pittsburgh Knights took place on Thursday evening featuring EZ5 and VIRTUOSO. EZ5 won that match in a 2-0 series.
VALORANT community reacts to Pax Arena's decision to disqualify Dcop
The VALORANT community reacted strongly to the news, supporting Dcop and the two teams, and condemning Pax Arena for what some have called "incompetence".
Many were not happy with how Pax Arenas handled the situation, especially given that Pax Arenas apparently invited the player. Some fans even spammed #Justice4Dcop in the Pax Arenas Twitch chat.
On the flip side of things, there was a lot of positive feedback for VIRTUOSO, as their decision to forfeit the tournament was seen as true sportsmenship.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.