Filipino team Bren Esports will no longer be competing in the upcoming VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 3 Masters tournament in Berlin, Germany after they were unable to secure the visas required to travel there and compete in the event in time.
Alex Francois, Head of Competitive Operations for VALORANT Esports, said in a statement on Saturday (3 Sep) that "tightening travel restrictions around the world due to changing COVID-19 developments" meant that the final deadline that would allow for Bren Esports to travel to Germany and compete in VCT Masters Berlin had unfortunately already passed.
Francois explained that VALORANT developer Riot Games "explored multiple avenues" to give Bren Esports a chance to compete in VCT Masters Berlin, including engaging with the Philippine and German governments. Bren Esports also stated that they had "exhausted all possible options" to no avail.
"Given the unfavourable circumstances, tight deadlines, and travel restrictions that are out of our control, our team will be unable to travel to Berlin to compete," said Bren Esports.
Francois added that it was "a tough decision" and that they "share in the disappointment" of Bren Esports' players and fans.
Bren Esports and Paper Rex from Singapore were Southeast Asia's two representatives in VCT Masters Berlin after they claimed the top two spots in the VCT SEA Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs in August, which ended with Bren Esports sweeping Paper Rex in the grand finals.
With Bren Esports no longer being able to compete, VCT Masters Berlin will now be a 15-team tournament and had its group stage format slightly changed to accommodate for a reduction in participants.
Group D — where Bren Esports were supposed to play alongside VCT Masters Reykjavík champions Sentinels as well as G2 Esports from Europe and F4Q from South Korea — had its format changed to a double round-robin. The top two teams of the group will advance to the playoffs while the third-placed team will be eliminated.
Meanwhile, Bren Esports will get 175 VCT points in consolation as they still qualified for VCT Masters Berlin.
VCT Masters Berlin will take place from 9 to 19 September and will feature 15 of the best VALORANT teams from all around the world fighting for the chance to claim a direct seed to the VALORANT Champions tournament — the final and marquee event of the 2021 VCT — at the end of the year.