The International begins next week with group stages, but the main event was supposed to feature a live audience between October 12-17. However, Valve no longer thinks that the event would be safe and has begun to refund tickets. The tournament will still take place, but without physical audience members.
In a blog post, Valve said: “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, 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 also had to move venues. It was initially supposed to be held in Stockholm, but the Swedish government refused to classify the event as an elite sporting event. “The absence of this official recognition means individual border agents would be making decisions about entry for those travelling to the event from countries outside the EU who do not typically need a visa to enter Sweden”, Valve said at the time.
The event was moved to Bucharest, Romania, where it would be held in the Arena Nationala. Teams will still be able to compete in person for a share of a £29million prize pool, and fans will be able to watch the action live through streaming.
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