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Thursday, June 13, 2024

CWG DOTA2 Bronze Medalist accuses ESFI of not complying with roster change

Indian esports community is witnessing a new controversy between Commonwealth Games Bronze Medal winning DOTA2 team captain Moin Ejaz and Esports Federation of India as the captain is accusing ESFI of not allowing any roster change for an entire year till Asian Games 2022 concludes.

ESFI is the current acting body between multiple official tournaments conducted across the world that has a national participation but it is not the official acting body formed or recognized by the Government of India.

Moin “No_Chance” Ejaz took it to his personal Facebook account to make a descriptive post of accusing ESFI for not accommodating any roster changes. He also mentioned that ESFI was not supportive of their qualification at Commonwealth Games but acted after they won the medal. The statement made by Moin Ejaz is as follows:

After securing bronze for India in the recent Commonwealth Esports Championship we might not be participating in the upcoming 14th WEC ,our Team whoops ( Team India ) is having issues with ESFI regarding team roster as they expect us to continue playing with the same roster for all upcoming tournaments till Asian games. We were not informed about that till now. ESFI is forcing us to continue playing with the same roster and if we refuse to play they’re giving our slot to another team to represent India in all the upcoming events including World Esports Championship being hosted in Bali Indonesia and the Asian games. they’re saying that only one team will represent India in all the events leading upto the Asian games which is a period of over one year. I don’t think this is fair for anyone playing Dota2 in India as everyone should have an equal opportunity to participate in every event. I’ll request ESFI to host fair and open qualifiers for all the upcoming events so that everyone has an equal chance of representing India which will also help the Dota2 scene in India to grow.

As Dota2 is very dynamic game any team can be better than the other in a period of time and just selecting one group of players to play all the tournaments for whole next year doesn’t sit right with me.

– Moin Ejaz, Captain, CWG DOTA2 Team India

ESFI reacts to Moin Ejaz’s Accusations

After putting out this entire statement, ESFI has responded to these accusations with a story of their own. According to them, it is essential for any roster representing India to stick together and play as a team for major international events. This is the most crucial reason as to why ESFI is not willing to accommodate any roster shuffles. Their entire statement on this matter is given below:

Claims made by Moin are completely baseless and lack understanding of the fair working of the selection process for any international tournaments where countries are represented. The bronze medal (DOTA) at Commonwealth Esports Championship is a giant leap towards people considering esports as a sport which has been the biggest fight for every esports athletes in India for years. This medal is a strong foundation to the fact that Asian Games is a year ahead where we stand today and every step that we take is formalising the efforts of making esports legitimate, recognised as a sport and also attract sponsorships, investments and avenues for every esports athlete. That Asian Games medal is must for esports to take the next level and to give it a best shot in whatever best way it is possible. Having said that there are certain norms in Asian Games which cannot be changed and we have to adhere to them: Teams that want to participate have to be given in advance and that process was already undertaken in April 2022 and it’s unfortunate that pandemic resulted in shifting the games next to next year. However, the Championship dates have changed but the participating team member names can’t be change as per the guideline that is already in place unless unavoidable subject to necessary process & approvals from the respective authorities. Having said that, this also gives us a whole year to prepare as a team, so do we keep changing or destabilising that process and in all good senses we are sure each one of you stand by ESFI when we say that this one year has to be constructively used to build an invincible team which is already being selected/named and prepare them for all kind of eventualities, rather than keep giving new faces a chance and send an under prepared team to Asian Games. These exposure events (like Commonwealth Esports Championship, 14th WEC etc.) are extremely important to mentally train them, ensure that this set of selected team members gain experience, understanding and confidence to play with every participant in such big tournaments ahead of the Asian Games. The objective and motto of ESFI is to maximise the benefits of working along the same lines. A player is pivotal to our objective which is to win a medal for the country. This will be a lifechanging milestone for the esports community at large and we should look at this larger picture more than anything. Hence our plan for CEC or 14th World Esports Championship and/or any other upcoming international tournament is to send the same team/athletes to prepare and harness them for the biggest challenge of their esports life/career and ESFI is doing everything for the same, this was very well conveyed to all the teams/players and we have conveyed the same in our previous communications also. But if we keep changing the teams then the purpose gets defeated- our goal is to win and not just participate. The details of the teams which are selected for Asian Games through national qualifiers are already submitted to the concerned authorities i.e., Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Page 2 of 2 Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF). As per our discussion with the concerned authorities, RDAG regional qualifiers for the Asian Games 2022 are about to happen soon and the dates will be revealed once the federation gets the same

– Esports Federation of India

ESFI Vs Moin Ejaz Backstory: Both Perspectives

After releasing this entire statement, ESFI also provided with their own point of view of the backstory and explained why these incidents happened. A few hours after releasing this statement, Moin Ejaz posted yet another elaborative post explaining his perspective of how things happened. Both the statements are given below:

ESFI had conducted the national open qualifiers basis which team (DOTA) consisting of Krish Nitin Gupta, Abhishek Yadav, Ketan Sunil Goyal, Moin Ejaz, Shubham Goli & Darshan Bata (Substitute) qualified. Substitutes are taken-in to cover in case of emergencies. ESFI has always conducted open and fair national qualifiers for all participating international events including for 14th World Esports Championship (non Asian Games titles) For Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022, the team wanted a roster change (Krish Nitin Gupta to be replaced with Vishal). As an extraordinary exception, we accepted this request. Moin even confirmed via mail dated 9th Jun 2022, that this team will participate in the 14th World Esports Championship & Commonwealth Esports Championship, and each one of them had done their registration on 20th/21st Jun for 14th WEC too. Out of nowhere, we recently came to know that there is another roster change. This came to us as a shock as this team got a bronze, and why are we even looking at a roster change and not to forget the underlying genuine intent of giving the same team maximum exposure to get a podium finish at the Asian Games? The reason given to ESFI is “the new roster will be a better team and/or I cannot play with the existing xx player(s)”. We even received a complaint from one of the team members that he is being victimised and Moin is changing the roster on his own and playing politics. We are very well aware that the sports structure is new to our esports community; however, we also would want our community to appreciate that there are some guidelines which any sports federation has to follow. For 14th WEC, out of Krish Nitin Gupta, Abhishek Yadav, Ketan Sunil Goyal, Moin Ejaz, Shubham Goli, Vishal, and Darshan Bata, three of the players (Krish, Darshan and Vishal) are not playing so this team is effectively incomplete, and they need to complete their roster within these players for their participation in 14th WEC and the last date for ESFI to submit the team details is 03rd Sept 2022. It will be unfair to other teams who participated in the qualifiers if we keep allowing these roster changes, as they have every right to say that they will also form a new team (which will be a better team). As per the regulations, if the first-place team is not able to go, then the slot is to be given to the second-placed team and so on. All this was very well explained to the DOTA team in detail. Not to forget that there are teams/players of other game titles (Hearthstone, LOL, Streetfighter, FIFA) of Asian Games who are practising hard on regular basis & preparing for Asian Games andVELOCITY GAMING WINS SKYESPORTS PRO INVITATIONAL 2.0 ESFI is also working on getting better infrastructure and coaching etc. for them. These events are not private events, these events are governed by principal of sports, and we expect all the stakeholders to appreciate, respect and follow them. 


The statement made by Moin Ejaz on this matter and explaining his own side of the story is as follows:

ESFI was asking us to forfeit from participating in commonwealth games Regional Qualifiers Dota2. When we were literally minutes away from playing our first game as they had lack of funds and were not sure if they could be able to send to Birmingham even if we qualify. They were more concerned about protecting their own image over the chance to participate in such a big event like Common Wealth Games. It is only after we pleaded and fought with them saying please let us participate and if we qualify we will try to arrange our own sponsor did they let us participate in the qualifiers. After we qualified we had no support from ESFI in any aspect including visas for which we had to pay the fees out of our own pockets. ESFI had told us that they will require a sponsorship in the amount of 10 lakhs approximately to cover our trip to Birmingham and back. We even managed to find a sponsors and got the sponsors in contact with ESFI but we did not receive any feedback from them. When we inquired as to what was happening with the sponsorship situation they told us that it was not our concern and that only ESFI will be negotiating with the sponsors even though we were the ones who presented them with this sponsor. In the end they were not able to reach an agreement with the sponsors that we had provided and 2 weeks before the start of the Commonwealth Games they informed us that they were not able to reach an agreement with the sponsors that we had provided, they also forbid us from taking the sponsorship directly saying that the whole event planning will be only be done by ESFI. At the end of this ordeal they somehow managed to book us tickets to Birmingham and acted as if they were doing us a huge favour by sending us there. After we won the bronze medal ESFI started acting as if they had supported us throughout our journey and facilitated us in achieving this objective when infact they were our biggest hinderance.

As to regarding our Asian game roster we never requested a change in that and will be happy to participate with the same roster which includes (Krish Dota) who cannot participate in any other event with us except for the Asian games as he currently plays for a professional Dota2 Team. So we had requested a roster change for only the other events, so the point ESFI is making that the same team should continue playing till the Asian games is invalid as our Asian games roster was never affected by this.

ESFI has personally called me out saying that I’m doing politics and trying to break apart this team which is further from the truth, I would like to ask ESFI to name that teammate who I have traumatized or harassed and if they can’t to stop spreading these baseless lies. All this time me and my team members have been putting up with the nonsense that ESFI has been spewing because we considered ourselves helpless and at their mercy. Now it is for the public to decide who is doing politics and who is the real culprit in this scenario

– – Moin Ejaz, Captain, CWG DOTA2 Team India

After this matter was revealed, big names like Shiva Nandy, owner of Skyesports, and 8Bit Thug, co-owner of S8UL, stood behind Ejaz. Shiva Nandy posted a screenshot of a tournament organizer accusing ESFI of signing “contracts of free work” of a year from the talents they outsource. 8Bit Thug jeered on the statement made by ESFI, rendering it as a joke.

ESFI has already been allegedly involved in several mismanagement cases like unfair contracts, power games and more such things. The body itself is not recognized by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports or Indian Olympics Association(IOA) and this makes the case critical so as to how ESFI will play their role in providing facilities to the DOTA 2 team in the future.


Divyesh Moghe
Divyesh Moghehttp://www.talkesport.com
Content writer and Esports enthusiast
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