Riot Games South Asia encourages Pakistani teams to participate in the MENA Challengers League due to logistical obstacles
Before the start of the new VCT Challengers Season, Riot Games South Asia posted a new notification on their official X/Twitter post, which encourages Pakistani players to play from the MENA region as an import player, as playing in South Asia remains a logistical issue due to political conflicts between India and Pakistan.
Riot SA Working On Finding A Permanent Solution To Logistical Obstacles
This notification was mainly posted by the VALORANT Esports South Asia team, acknowledging the challenges the players face due to political conflicts, and they want to give the players a transparent, accessible pathway to compete at the highest level.
Before the 2023 VCT Challengers Season, a ruling was introduced that essentially barred Pakistan resident players from participating in the VCT Challengers South Asia. The rule stated that the players participating in the event should be eligible to apply for an Indian Visa, which is challenging to acquire due to political tensions between the two teams. This new ruling was heavily criticised, and finally, before the start of the new season, the VALORANT Esports SA team officially acknowledged the issue.
Although this new notification isn’t a permanent solution to the challenge, but according to Sukamal Pegu, Esports Head of India and South Asia, “It is a move towards the final win.” Riot Games also released an official statement on this situation:
“Riot Games acknowledges the current challenges surrounding the ability to participate in the Challenger Leagues for players from Pakistan due to logistical challenges. We are actively working towards a more streamlined and comprehensive solution for the 2024+ seasons, especially if there is increased interest from Pakistan in playing Premier, the competitive in-game mode that leads to a chance to compete in our Challenger Leagues. Our goal is to offer an improved pathway for players from Pakistan within the Challenger Leagues to fully realize the ‘Path to Pro’ in VALORANT Esports.”
According to the press release, Riot Games recommends that players from Pakistan follow the Import Residency Rule for Challenger Leagues:
- Pakistani players are encouraged to participate in the MENA Challenger League (CL), or any other CL, as “imports.”
- As per the Import Residency Rule, a team competing in a regional CL must include a minimum of 3 out of 5 players from that specific region. Hence, for the MENA CL, at least 3 players must reside within the MENA region, while the remaining 2 slots can be filled by imports from any other region.
- This allows Pakistani players to engage in CL competitions, adhering to the Import Residency Rules guidelines.
Riot Games appreciates the understanding and patience of the gaming community as we strive to create an inclusive and fair gaming environment for all of our players.
However, after the post, there were still community members who were unhappy with the decision and needed a permanent solution for this challenge. Although apart from the press release, there is no official response from Riot Games, we expect, as mentioned in their press release, they will keep updating depending on the interest from the players in Pakistan playing on Premier, which essentially helps you to qualify for the Challengers League.
For all information about the VCT 2023, check out our VCT Hub. There you will find our FAQ to answer all of your questions and details about the teams, different Leagues, and more.