Gaimin Gladiator’s tOfu is struggling with obtaining a US visa according to two separate reports.

Gaimin Gladiators are one of premier Dota 2 teams in the world, but might reportedly have to head to The International 2023 without four position player Erik "tOfu" Engel. This is allegedly due to difficulty obtaining a visa to enter the US.

The visa issues were highlighted in a Reddit post made on June 13, which stated that Russian-language caster Dmitry "Zloba" Irinchuk had reported tOfu is still having trouble securing a US visa. 

The post also cited an interview with from June 17. In it, the Reddit post, and several other outlets attributed the following quote to tOfu: “Personally, I do not have any particular love for Seattle, perhaps unlike other players that have competed for a longer period. I had a conflict in the USA. I am currently in the complex process of obtaining a USA visa, but I do not want to go into details.”

Reddit and other observers have fixated on the word “conflict,” insinuating this “conflict” could be the reasoning behind the visa denial. It’s important to note, that this translation of the interview was purely done in-app translation, and may not be entirely accurate. The interview was originally published in Russian, and the Russian word for conflict: конфликт (Latinized to konflikt) could mean clash, tangle, or difficulty, rather than its harshest interpretation.

Reasons behind the visa denial?

(Image via Valve)
(Image via Valve)

It is not known why tOfu is having issues with obtaining a visa for the US. A person may be declined a visa for the US for any number of reasons. On the U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs website the following details are shared: 

“An application may be denied because the consular officer does not have all of the information required to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a visa, because the applicant does not qualify for the visa category for which he or she applied, or because the information reviewed indicates the applicant falls within the scope of one of the inadmissibility or ineligibility grounds of the law. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.”

However, this isn’t the end of the world for someone denied a visa. Ineligibility waivers are also granted on a regular basis. While someone may fall under ineligibility, they can still be granted access on a temporary, sometimes on-time basis.

For Gaimin Gladiators, this will provide no comfort. And the prospect of a TI12 without tOfu is daunting. This writer has gone on record as saying that “don’t think any team stops Gaimin.” We just didn’t expect that it would be visa issues that ended their run.

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