VCS champion GAM Esports won’t be part of another international tournament, the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational, due to the COVID-19 travel restriction. This means the tournament would see its field of teams reduced by one next month in Reykjavík, Iceland.
According to Riot Games in an announcement on Monday, the organizers have explored numerous solutions that would allow the VCS team to compete in Iceland but could not find a way to make it possible.
Tom Martell, director of operations at Riot, said the organizers expressed disappointment to continue without one of their most passionate leagues.
This makes it the second straight international League of Legends tournament that VCS missed. The team had, last season, miss the World Championship due to travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This also affected the region’s representative. The likes of GAM Esports and Team Flash were absent in a tournament they would have featured in the play-in stage of the Worlds main event.
GAM Esport would have also represented the region following their regional championship this spring after being grouped alongside Royal Never Give Up, Unicorns of Love, and Pentanet.GG in Group A.
Due to their absence, Group A will only have three teams, while the teams in Groups B and C will be unaffected by this change for the tournament, which kicks off May 6.
It could be recalled that GAM Esports completed the regional tournament with an impressive record of 32-7 this past split. They could have easily contested at MSI. They had been slated to make their first international appearance since Worlds 2019 before the unfortunate development.
Despite not participating in the tournament, Martell said GAM Esports’ experience couldn’t be replaced; they will be awarded their total share of the prize pool as though they had participated in the event.
With COVID-19 restrictions being reduced across the globe, no other expected teams will miss the tournament.