TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwanese competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team “SadStory” was disqualified from the regional qualifier of the IEM 2019 Katowice world championship on a technicality, as the team did not compete in the “China division,” reported CNA.
SadStory beat Japan’s Friendly Welcome 16-1 during the preliminary round, but were consequently disqualified for supposedly competing in the incorrect region.
The blunder is the result of problematic rules which appear to have caused confusion, despite SadStory participating in the competition for the past two years without incident.
Taiwan, a regional hub of online gaming and home of numerous gaming brands, is not distinctly listed in regions China, East Asia, or Southeast Asia.
According to the rules, home country is defined by the authority who issued the participant’s passport.
CrazyFace, a member of SadStory said in a Facebook post that the team considered entering the China region in the past, but chose otherwise as they hold Taiwanese passports.
The event organizers said they define nationality according to the United Nations’ list of countries.
It is unclear why the national distinction has now become an issue.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said they instructed their Frankfurt office to contact the organizers of the event, and to convey the government of Taiwan’s deep concern.
MOFA called for the organizers to uphold the principles of fairness and justice, so all competitors are given the opportunity to compete, adding political positions deprive the rights of all participants.
Head of the Taiwan e-Sport Association (華民國電子競技運動協會) Hung Tzu-yen (洪梓硯) told CNA the IEM is a commercial event, and must consider external factors including sponsorship, and expressed regret about the incident.
Intel, the major sponsor of the world championship, said it was aware of the issue and is in the process of gathering more information, according to Apple Daily.