ESL Executive: "MIBR will no longer be allowed in ECL NA"
Less than 24 hours after MIBR took down Evil Geniuses Black in a dominant fashion to win ESL Challenger League Season 43, ESL Faceit Group's Senior Vice President of Game Ecosystems, Ulrich "theflyingdj" Schulze, took to Reddit to announce that the Brazilians would no longer to be allowed to play NA ESL Challenger League.
This surprise announcement comes as a major surprise as MIBR have consistently been a top team in ECL since joining the division in 2022. MIBR won Season 40 at the start of the year, came third in Season 42, and most recently won Season 43 to cap off 2022. Schulze's argument that MIBR should be barred from playing NA ECL is based on the team's region being set as South America in ESL's World Rankings, with the team currently being the top squad from that part of the world on the rankings.
This raises an interesting point however, why are MIBR set as a South American team on the world rankings? It's not because they are Brazilian; FURIA, paiN, and LOS + oNe have been competing in North America for years without issue. Additionally, MIBR's CS:GO squad are based in Monterrey, Mexico, just miles away from paiN's team house.
Do MIBR play South American events? Once again, not any more than other Brazilian squads based in North America. In 2022, MIBR only played four events in their home country, two open qualifiers for the PGL Antwerp Major Americas RMR, one open qualifier for IEM Dallas, and one open qualifier for the IEM Rio Americas RMR. Outside of those four events, MIBR has been firmly committed to playing in North America outside of their international commitments for ESL, BLAST, and FiReLEAGUE.
So what exactly is going on here? Schulze's comment on Reddit appears to be a response to anger and confusion from a fan about why MIBR snatched away the South American IEM Katowice World Rankings spot from 9z despite clearly being a North American team. As such, Schulze reacts to this negative sentiment by assuring that MIBR would be region locked to what he assumes is their home region, being unaware of their ties to North America.
To add to the confusion, MIBR's coach, Bruno "BIT" Lima, told Dust2.us that his squad hasn't made a decision on what region they want to call home next year and are still weighing their options. Both regions have their benefits for a Brazilian team, however MIBR choosing to return home would mean the squad dropping out of NA ECL, losing access to the NA Cash Cups, and various arguably easier North American open qualifiers.
Whatever option MIBR chooses, it still leaves the unanswered question of why the NA-based team were marked as South American for an extended time on ESL's World Rankings. However, it is largely clear the team's residency wasn't South America in 2022 as Schulze claims.
Dust2.us reached out to Schulze for comment but did not receive a reply at the time of publication. Additionally, Dust2.us forwarded a number of questions to ESL regarding MIBR's situation and region allocation. The story will be updated when the various parties reply.