Four of Saigon Buffalo's five players got their visas

Four of Saigon Buffalo’s five players got their visas

Last week, Saigon Buffalo announced that three players on its League of Legends team have been denied visas. With the 2022 Worlds fast approaching, the Vietnamese team confirmed today that 4 of the 5 players have finally received their visas; Froggy and head coach Nguyễn “Ren” Văn Trọng are still waiting.

The situation seems to be unblocking little by little

Update on Sept. 22, 2022: Saigon Buffalo has very recently provided an update on the situation regarding the visa applications of its players ahead of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. The club’s management confirmed that four of the five players on the team have obtained their visas to travel to the United States; only the applications of Bùi “Froggy” Văn Minh Hải and head coach Nguyễn “Ren” Văn Trọng are still pending.

Update Sept. 20, 2022: With just over a week to go before the League of Legends 2022 Worlds kicks off, players on Team Saigon Buffalo still haven’t gotten their visas and they’re still without news on their applications; there are only 6 days left before the team is really in trouble with the only solution being potentially having to forfeit for the tournament. Qualifying as seed 2 in the VCS league, Saigon Buffalo has a much smaller window of opportunity than their GAM Esports counterpart, as the team must take part in the Play-In which begins on September 29.

Article from Sept. 17, 2022: The Worlds will make its return to North America this year, with the LCS serving as the host league for the event for the first time since 2016. Additionally, this year’s edition will be the first since 2019 where fans will be allowed to attend all stages of the tournament. Each national league around the world (with the exception of the LCL) will send between one and four representatives for this edition 2022; in total, 24 teams from 11 leagues will participate in the 2022 League of Legends Worlds. The League of Legends Worlds 2022 is fast approaching, but new administrative issues continue to emerge.

The League of Legends Worlds 2022 will be held in the United States in October

Earlier this week, we learned that GAM Esports, the defending VCS Summer Split 2022 champion and number one seed in the Vietnamese league, had its U.S. visa application denied; the information published by Bongdaplus, however, stated that the team’s players have the opportunity to reapply for a visa within two weeks. GAM Esports, as the seed 1 of the VCS, is directly qualified for the group stage of the Main Event, which is scheduled to kick off on October 7, so the team has a little leeway, but will certainly lose out on training. For his part, the global head of esports at Riot Games, Naz Aletaha, said in an official statement that he and his team are working with government officials and doing everything they can to get GAM to the Worlds.

With this first notification of the denial of GAM Esports’ visas, another concern has undoubtedly emerged in recent days regarding the other Vietnamese team qualified for this world championship, Saigon Buffalo, the seed 2 of the VCS league, which in turn has to go through the Play-in, the preliminary stage scheduled to kick off on September 29, a little less than two weeks from now. Unfortunately, the worst fears are coming true as the club’s management announced in its latest tweet that three players from its League of Legends team, namely Shogun, Froggy and BeanJ, were denied visas last Thursday. The tweet also states that Riot Games has already applied for a second appointment with the Vietnam-based U.S. consulate, and Saigon Buffalo now hopes that the issue will be resolved before the tournament begins. 

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the Vietnamese league answering to the name of Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) is facing a number of unforeseen circumstances in organizing its championship and to send its teams to international events. The VCS have not been able to attend a world championship since 2019 and have missed several other international events such as the Mid-Season Invitational; the first international event the VCS have been able to attend since 2019 is the MSI 2022, where Saigon Buffalo was able to reach the Rumble Stage.

In the event that both VCS teams are unable to attend the League of Legends Worlds 2022, we do not know what steps Riot Games will take to make up for these absences; based on last-minute decisions made in previous editions, the VCS teams are not expected to be replaced and Riot Games is expected to make a slight adjustment to its format. 

League of Legends Worlds 2022 will begin on Thursday, September 29 with the first day of the Play-In group stage; meanwhile, the draw for the Play-In and Main Event groups is scheduled for tonight, the night of September 11-12, right after the LCS Championship final.

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