It was with great shock that SLO fans had to find out that their last remaining team at this year’s EU Masters, MAD Lions, would have to play their Semifinals match against Misfits Premier without their Serbian Toplaner Pavle “Yoppa” Kostić.
According to the Ellis “Alchemist” Parker, Project Lead of EU Masters, this was due to “MAD Lions being unable to secure a UK visa for Pavle “Yoppa” Kostić to play in Leicester this weekend.” When asked about the possibility of Yoppa playing from abroad under Riot-monitored circumstances, similar to how TSM’s Academy player Treatz had done due to visa issues, Parker responded that “in order to set that precedent in EU we required that all steps were taken to acquire the visa by the team in a timely manner. Unfortunately we found this not to be the case.”
However, whether Yoppa would’ve been able to secure a UK visa in the first place remains to be questionable. Teams participating in EU Masters were informed of Leicester ESL studios being the venue of the LAN Finals at the same time as the public: As late as the 29th of March 2019. This was confirmed by multiple teams competing in EUM and a Riot representative when asked about the situation.
A digital application for a UK visa takes about three weeks according to the official British Embassy website, with many holidays in April, and the on-going Brexit ordeal likely to slow down the process even further.
Due to these circumstances, MAD Lions decided to let Yoppa travel back to Serbia in order to apply for a visa in person instead – thus hopefully speeding up the process. Unfortunately for him and MAD Lions, the player hasn’t gotten a response regarding his application thus far.
Riot however seems to view these efforts as the incorrect route, and that “not all steps were taken to acquire the visa by the team in a timely manner” – thus deciding to punish the team for their fruitless efforts by not letting Yoppa play from a Riot-monitored setup either.