The CSGO Major planned for Stockholm this year may end up being moved, just as The International had to be, due to visa issues related to the ongoing global COVID situation and a delay in the government reclassifying esports to fall under the same exemption umbrella as sports. At this point in time, nothing is set in stone, but the Swedish outlet Expressen.se claims the event is in jeopardy and time is running out for a resolution if it is to go ahead at the Avicii Arena as planned.
Sweden has not reclassified esports under the sports banner, meaning esports pros cannot gain the same exemptions to travel as traditional sports stars can. As stated, this has already cost Stockholm the biggest esports event in the form of TI, as well as affecting many other pros in various games such as Smash Bros.
PGL CEO Silviu Stroie is quoted in Expressen as having sent an email with the following text included, which makes it clear the issue still lies with the promised visa exemption for esports pros that Sweden is yet to honor. It seems as though while Sweden is one of the countries with the strongest esports roots, pandemic restrictions has made everyone more cautious, government agencies included.
"There is no new development, we can decide any day now to move it from Sweden," Silviu Stroie, CEO of PGL, reportedly said in an email. "We are still hopeful of getting the exemption we requested to bring in the players, but there has been no indication at all as to whether it will happen or not." PGL is no doubt keen to run another major, having been involved with both Cluj-Napoca and Krakow previously, and the event is set to boast a $2M prize pool.
There has also been massive interest in the event, which is natural after the long LAN drought esports has experienced. The news has brought a fairly strong reaction from the Swedish esports federation, which includes the likes of Jonathan "Loda" Berg and Ninjas in Pyjamas CEO Hicham Chahine. They are convinced the issue must be resolved, or at least a commitment to resolution must come before Friday of this week if the event is to have a hope of happening in Stockholm as planned.
"It would contribute to a greatly reduced reputation for arranging major international esports tournaments in Sweden," they are quoted as saying in Expressen. "With this letter, we want to call on responsible ministers, ministries, and committees to follow up on the promises made and implement the changes required for e-sports events to be implemented in Sweden."