Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) voiced grave concern Wednesday about a Taiwanese team's disqualification in a qualifying round at the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice 2019 e-game tournament.
The ministry urged the organizer not to deprive the team of its right to play in the event due to the political stance of a specific country.
"We have asked the representative office in Frankfurt to verify the issue and have lodged a stern protest with the organizer -- Cologne-based Turtle Entertainment -- to express our grave concern and stance," MOFA said in a statement.
MOFA's response came in the wake of reports that the Taiwanese team, called Sad Story, was disqualified by the organizer despite a first-round 16-1 victory over a Japanese team named Friendly Welcome in a "Counter Strike: Global Offensive" match in the Southeast Asia (SEA) qualifier, on the grounds that the "Taiwan team should have played in the China qualifier."
"We initially thought we should play in the China qualifier, but in order to play in that qualifier, we must have Chinese passports," said team member Crazy Face on his Facebook page, adding that they eventually succeeded in registering for the SEA qualifier.
"We have never had this problem before, not even a footnote saying in the rules that Taiwan has to register in the China qualifier. We thought it was just a mistake that East Asia (EA) or SEA forgot to note Taiwan. Fun fact, we have been playing EA and SEA tournament qualifiers for two years already," he said.
The team was disqualified after being notified that "Taiwan does not belong to any region recognized by the tournament authorities."
Taiwan is not listed in any of Asia's sub-regions in the tournament rules, but the rulebook states that "if your country is not listed, you should contact (the tournament) administration to seek clarification on which qualifier you should compete in."
The organizers noted that they use the United Nations list of countries as a measure for determining countries and regions. Taiwan is not a U.N. member.
Chinese Taipei e-Sports Association Secretary-General Hung Chi- yan (洪梓硯) lamented the development, but noted that a country-to- country Olympic model is not adopted in IEM Katowice, as it is a commercial activity in nature.