Valve: No DPC Spring Tour for Eastern Europe 'for the foreseeable future'

Dota 2 players compete at TI8 in 2018.
Dota 2 players compete at TI8 in 2018. The Dota Pro Circuit will not be continuing with its Spring Tour in Eastern Europe due to the ongoing crisis in the region caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Dota 2 developer Valve Software announced on Saturday (12 March) a further postponement of the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Spring Tour in Eastern Europe "for the foreseeable future" due to the ongoing crisis in the region caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Spring Tour for Eastern Europe was initially postponed on 28 February shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine started on 24 February under orders from Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The DPC's Spring Tour is set to begin on 14 March, with the regional leagues lasting until 24 April before the Spring Tour Major in Stockholm, Sweden kicks off from 12 to 22 May.

Valve said in its latest blog post that they "don't believe it is possible" for competition in Eastern Europe to continue given the circumstances.

"As the terrible suffering caused by the war in Ukraine unfolds, we do not see a way that the Eastern European DPC league can happen as envisioned for the foreseeable future, and it was with much regret that we recently had to postpone the Spring Tour in one of the community's most vibrant and storied regions," said Valve.

The developer added that Russia-based Epic Esports Events, the DPC's organiser for Eastern Europe, have proactively given up their rights to host the regional league so that "players, teams, and the community can focus on safety and security".

Many Ukraine-based esports organisations, most notably Natus Vincere (Na'Vi), have severed ties with Epic Esports Events for being a subsidiary of Russian esports company ESforce Holding over the invasion. Other ESforce Holding subsidiaries include the esports team as well as media entities and RuHub.

Dota 2 has long enjoyed a strong presence in Eastern Europe, from the release of the game in the early 2010's all the way back to its roots in the original Defense of the Ancient mods for WarCraft III in the late 2000's.

The first-ever iteration of The International (TI), Dota 2's annual world championship tournament, in 2011 was won by Na'Vi.

Last year's TI10 was won by Russia-based organisation Team Spirit, which had a roster of Ukrainian and Russian players.

Valve has not yet fully closed the door on continuing DPC competition in Eastern Europe. The developer also said it is engaging with teams and players in the region "to see what their individual situations are and whether there might be ways that we could proceed".

The developer added that it is wishing for the safety of those in regions affected by the conflict and it hopes to "go back to bringing an international audience together again in the future".

"Dota is inextricably a global game. The very name of The International itself is testament to a shared celebration of sport that connects people of every nation into a singular community of passionate fans," said Valve.

"Our goals with the tournament and the DPC as a whole have always been focused on showcasing the enormous power of this human connection that thrives on participation from all parts of Dota fandom."

If you'd like to learn more about how you can help Ukraine during this crisis, here is a list of international organizations you can donate to.

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