There's been some controversy over the weekend surrounding Valve's big DOTA 2 tournament, The International, and how the company (and one team involved) has handled the roster of one of the competing teams.
That team is Fnatic, and the player at the centre of the mess is Adrian "Era" Kryeziu (pictured, below), who suffers from what sound like pretty severe anxiety attacks. These attacks have reportedly affected his ability to attend and compete in recent tournaments, so in order to maintain a consistent roster across competitions Fnatic have recently replaced him (temporarily) with Steve 'Xcalibur' Ye.
Which is a move that, while allowed for other tournaments, has run into a problem with Valve. The developer has told Fnatic that unless the team competes with the five players originally invited to The International months ago - a lineup that includes Era, not Xcalibur - it won't be able to compete.
Following expressions of outrage amongst the community regarding the decision (the line on what constitutes a fair replacement of a nominated team member is a blurry one that's been fudged a few times in the past), both parties have issued lengthy statements seeking to clarify the situation, Fnatic's here and Valve's here.
The latter makes for interesting reading, since it includes a dump of all correspondence made between the team, Valve and Era, including an email where Era claims he was "fired" by Fnatic, and questions the legality of the move since his doctors had actually cleared him to play.
A public statement issued over the weekend by Era, however, casts doubt on that email. Walking back his accusations, he says his email was "irrational", and adds that after further sessions with doctors "it was concluded that traveling would be too stressful and may prolong recovery and it would be better to stay home".
Regardless, Valve's stance - included at the end of their transcripts - remains the same:
As we've said to the players and management of Fnatic, we're not happy with the stress this is placing on their organization, players, and fans. We don't minimize medical problems of any kind, whether physical or otherwise. That said, we believe we have a responsibility to make sure that all professional players are being treated fairly, both by their management, and by the decisions that we make that affect all of them. We take this very seriously.
We believe we've included all the relevant details in this post, but in the interest of full disclosure, here is a document* containing the entire correspondence with Fnatic.
Hopefully this explains our position on this specific issue to people in the community. Our offer to the original five invited players still stands for Fnatic.