VALORANT is a popular first-person shooter game developed by Riot Games. The game has a huge following in South Asia and has been growing in popularity in recent years. Riot Games has teamed up with Nodwin to launch the VALORANT Challenger for the South Asia region. However, the rules for the tournament have put VALORANT players from Pakistan at risk of disqualification, and this has caused quite a stir in the esports community.
The open qualifiers for the VALORANT Challengers have been announced. They welcome registrations from the entire region, including Pakistan. However, Rule 5 of the rulebook states that all players in the VALORANT Challengers are required to ensure that they are eligible for an Indian visa. This is because the later stages of the tournament will be held as a LAN event in India.
Getting an Indian visa is a complicated and time-consuming process for Pakistanis due to tense diplomatic relations between the two countries. Even if a Pakistani player manages to obtain a visa, there is still a chance that it may be rejected. This puts VALORANT players from Pakistan in a difficult position as they risk being disqualified later in the competition.
The esports community in Pakistan is not happy about this rule, and many have taken to social media to voice their concerns. BeasT, a Pakistani VALORANT player, called out the rule on Twitter, stating that there was no point in adding Pakistan to the SA qualifier if Pakistani players were not going to get a visa.
Riot Games has responded to the backlash, with Sukamal Pegu, the head of esports for South Asia, saying that they are working on a permanent solution to the issue. However, he did not elaborate on what that solution might be. Jake Sin, the head of VALORANT esports for APAC, also commented on the issue, stating that they will work on it, but these things take time.
BeasT suggested two possible solutions to the issue. The first was to shift Pakistan to MENA, and the second was to give them an exception to the rule. However, it remains to be seen what the final solution will be.
This is not the first time such an issue has arisen in the South Asian VALORANT esports scene. During the Skyesports Champions Series (SCS) in late 2022, which was an official VCT event, the LAN event was held in Chennai, India. However, Pakistani players were allowed to compete remotely as they were unable to travel to India.
Only time will tell what the future holds for VALORANT esports in Pakistan. For now, players can sign up to compete in the Challengers, but it remains to be seen if a solution can be found to the visa issue.