In a repeat of the situation that Apex Legends Global Series teams faced just a couple of months ago in Sweden, several players slated to play in this weekend’s competition have been forced to withdraw due to positive COVID tests before the tournament even begins.
At least eight players have already tested positive for COVID, leaving their teams scrambling to find substitutes if they didn’t already have a coach who could fill in as an emergency sub at the ALGS Championship.
Japanese team FENNEL have been hit the hardest so far, with two out of their three players testing positive for COVID and unable to compete in the event. Originally, they were due to have their coach step in as an emergency substitute, but he tested positive for COVID just before the tournament began as well. So far, it looks like FENNEL and the Korean trio representing FOR7 are the only teams faced with a situation in which they will have to compete without a full squad of three.
Several teams have already made arrangements for substitutes due to COVID and visa issues, with some opting to bring in players from their respective regions as emergency subs, while others have had to pick up North American pros who hadn’t already qualified for the ALGS Championship on the fly. The availability of several North American pros who traveled simply to attend the event slightly lessens the blow of positive COVID tests for some teams, but not nearly as much for teams that don’t regularly communicate in English.
A somewhat similar situation unfolded in Stockholm prior to the Split Two Playoffs, where several teams were forced to use emergency substitutes. Notably, champions Reignite (now DarkZero Esports) played the tournament with a substitute, as did popular North American squad Cloud9. Other teams, like South America’s Team Singularity, weren’t so lucky and were forced to play through the tournament with only two players.
Many players and observers called for COVID protocols that would allow players who tested positive to play in isolation during the Championship, maintaining the highest competitive integrity possible after a Stockholm LAN where many teams had to play with mix-and-match squads. That didn’t happen for the Championship, which maintains the same zero-tolerance policy for players who test positive for COVID.
The ALGS Championship begins today, July 7, and runs until July 10.
Update July 7 11:03am CT: The number of players who have tested positive has risen to 10, according to Liquipedia.