Report: ATK contract spat leaves IEM Rio qualifier looking flat
The first IEM Road to Rio open qualifier is right around the corner, but it looks like ATK might not be competing in it. While teams like Complexity, Strife, and Gaimin Gladiators will be duking it out for a chance at the RMR, contract negotiations are preventing ATK from participating. Sources have informed Dust2.us that the ATK players have not had their transportation secured to head to the team's camp in Mexico with only three days to go between today and the start of the first qualifier.
It is concerning for a team tipped to qualify through one of the available six qualification slots that they will be missing the event unless flights are booked immediately. With members of the team based in South Africa, Sweden, and Israel, it would take a miracle for the contracts to be agreed upon and for the team to arrive in Mexico in time for the first qualifier.
In speaking with ATK owner Warren "Flea" Barkhuizen, he confirmed that the organization has not booked the flights for the players as they are in the middle of contract negotiations.
Well, the rather boring truth is that the team's contracts end at the end of this month so we're at the closing stages of re-signing. Once all the ink is dry then they will leave.
While the majority of the team's contracts are scheduled to end at the end of the month, Dust2.us knows that Michael "Swisher" Schmid still has time left on his deal. Dust2.us also understands that the offered contracts vary from the initial agreed-upon terms, so the two sides are still in the finalization stages of the renewal.
The first qualifier is already severely weakened as Evil Geniuses has not registered due to a potential travel conflict with BLAST Premier Fall Groups starting later that week. Additionally, several North American-based Brazilian teams like paiN, 00 Nation, and MIBR have elected to participate in the South American open qualifiers. This would be a prime opportunity for ATK to qualify, however due to the contract dispute it looks like that might slip away.
ATK still need to travel back to Mexico and will be looking to compete in ECL and the open qualifiers with the following players:
Gareth "MisteM" Ries
Rhys "Fadey" Armstrong
Ian "motm" Hardy
Johnathan "b0denmaster" Bodenmalm
Michael "Swisher" Schmid
Daniel "sprayxd" Kogan (Coach)