The Malaysian committee for the 2019 Overwatch World Cup have announced today, October 16, that the team won’t be attending the preliminary qualifiers at the end of this month due to being unable to raise sufficient funds.
In a statement from the Team Malaysia General Manager, Kenn Leandre, he said that the team had been let down by sponsors pulling out and that promises of support from the governing body for sports in Malaysia had “failed”. He also assured fans that purchases of Team Malaysia merchandise during a fund raising drive would be honoured and that those who had bought jerseys would receive them soon.
The statement reads: “Despite efforts made to rally support and raise the required funds from relevant parties, we have failed to meet the target in order to send our boys to compete in the tournament, set to be held at BlizzCon 2019. Requests of assistance from several national companies in hopes of lessening our travel and financial burden were flatly turned down, and the support promised by the country’s sports governing body – whilst initially was encouraging – ultimately failed.”
Teams ranked outside of the top ten in Blizzard’s Overwatch international rankings are invited to take part in the preliminary qualifiers for the World Cup but do not receive any funding or expenses so have to raise the money themselves through sponsorship.
Team Malaysia Withdraws from Overwatch World Cup
— Team Malaysia Overwatch (@malaysiaowwc) October 16, 2019
Despite many countries such as Austria, Italy and Hong Kong raising the funds to attend the OWWC, Malaysia are now the eighth nation to withdraw from the competition, with many of those teams citing financial difficulties and fundraising issues as the reason for pulling out.
The other seven nations that have been forced to withdraw from the competition so far are Romania, Argentina, Egypt, Switzerland, Israel, Bulgaria and Greece.
With the competition just around the corner, it’s crunch time for the several nations that are yet to hit their funding targets as time is rapidly running out. The coming weeks may see a number of countries announce that they have unfortunately met a similar fate as Malaysia have today.