Home / Software & Gaming / Update: Mandatory military service threatens another Esports pro’s career

Update: Mandatory military service threatens another Esports pro’s career

Update: Despite pressure on Esports professional, Konstantinos “Forg1ven” Tzortziou, to leave gaming behind for a nine month stint in the Greek military, he has now been given the option to defer it to a later time. Announced on the official H2K Twitter account, Forg1ven has been granted a “temporary deferment,” though it's not clear how long for.

Some have speculated that he could get six months, which would allow him to see out this year's World Championships run at the least, though ideally he would probably like a couple of years. That would get him through to 25, which is an age where many professional gamers look to greener pastures for the future of their career.

As PCG points out though, Greek authorities only grant deferment once, which means that before long, Forg1ven will be required to serve his country.

Original Story: Although there isn't exactly a blueprint for how to craft a world champion pro-gamer, there is one detail everyone can agree on: they better be young. Unfortunately though, that stipulation is also a key tenet of mandatory military service in some countries, and it's killed off the careers of several pros so far. Now it may do it again, as Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou of pro-LoL team H2K, is set to be called up for nine months.

Since 2009, Greek nationals have to spend nine months within the armed services if aged between 19 and 45. When the call goes out seems to be at the behest of the government, as Tzortziou has recently received his letter demanding his presence. That will mean that he likely misses upcoming matchups, including this year's World Championships.


Tzortziou (second from right) with the rest of H2K

Worse still, nine months out would leave him unpractised and scrambling to find a team to play with, as it would be impossible for him to remain on an active roster throughout this time. If he were then unable to find a team for 2017, it might mean this military service sees him miss two prime years of competing at a very high level, which for a 23 year old could well spell the end of his pro career.

As PCG points out, Esports fans have tried to contact Greek authorities to see if some form of waiver can be used in this instance, but there are stipulations in Greek conscription that even people with important positions in their industries are not allowed to be overlooked for military service. [yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyHe8mzKrAg']

This news only very recently came to light when Tzortziou revealed in an emotional post-game interview that he wasn't sure what the near future held.

Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.

KitGuru Says: As much as it may be hard to argue that Esports is more important than other careers, when your chances of success of so tied to a youthful age, would it be so hard to postpone service for Esports players until they are a little older?

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  1. WhateverYouWantItToBe

    I agree with national service although should not be exclusively military and should be after education is complete and only stopped if they can prove full time employment at that point.

  2. Here is what id do – Leave Greece! Cross the border to Bulgaria and problem solved! They have no right to come for you in another country.

  3. Actually it can be after education. You can get a waiver until your 28th year if you are a higher education student, extendable to the 29th year if you are studying for a master’s degree and to the 31st year if you are a PHD student (plus one more year I think for exceptional scientific prowess).

    By the way, the normal age for military duty for non-students is 19, so I guess he already got an extension. In any case, the same problem exists with all sorts of people, including athletes.

  4. I agree, national service is a good thing but I also think it should be any public services, so nursing, waste disposal and other public sectors, I mean just think what we could do with this country if we put real people in parliament to sit or a year at the time :-D.
    I would normally argue that we have no large need for the military but sadly these days we do, I would through argue we need more home based military and not so much overseas. Is it really our job to police the world and tell them whats wrong and not? Its a large subject and one I must admit im not totally clear about.
    On top of that I think national service gives people a prospective and teaches discipline, also in case if the NHS, if people saw how NHS really works from a nurses prospective then I believe a lot would change for the better.

  5. WhateverYouWantItToBe

    I think if the person has secured a job straight out of education then they should be excused completely. It should be used to help people decide or to stop lazy bums being lazy their whole life.

  6. WhateverYouWantItToBe

    Yeah definitely. It would help people decide their career path and those that do not have a job 12 months after national service should be made to return so that we no longer have bums on benefits that are perfectly capable of working. A flexible national service could definitely bring Britain back to its glory days!

    Not sure about the parliament part though. That’s technically a dictatorship :/

  7. Too right

  8. Surly since they only sit for a year then its definitely not a dictator ship. So u will have a set of people thats elected every 4 years as normal and then a group of national service people that sit for a year. (I do of cause know this does not work in practice, but still sure it woud work better then the way the British government is Working now)
    I mean a simple thing as representative votes where each party’s seat actually match the amount of votes they got instead of this first past the post. No offence to SNP (I live in Scotland myself) but they are a perfect example of it, they managed to get 56 seats even though they only got 4.7% of the vote, Both libDem and Ukip got just over 20% together yet they only got 9 seats? As little as I like either party I will not call that fair at all.

  9. Military obligation is embedded in the greek constitution, so a law cannot circumvent it so easily. Besides, given the sometimes tense relations between Greece and Turkey and the minor “arms race” between the two countries, a reform in the constitution is not bound to happen anytime soon.

  10. WhateverYouWantItToBe

    Ah I see, I thought you meant the entire parliament. Could still be a risky move having a section of voting parliament that is young, not necessarily interested and possibly quite easily swayed. Think the opposition could potentially bribe many of them into voting against the party of government.

    And I agree 100% on proportional representation. This election was the most disproportional ever. It took SNP around 50,000 votes per seat and UKIP nearly 4 million. Incredibly unfair but the Tories won’t do anything because they wouldn’t have got into power without the current system.

  11. WhateverYouWantItToBe

    I was talking not only about Greece but many countries and most specifically my own (UK) where there is no mandatory national service of any kind.

  12. U right there, only the small parties would ever want to change that since they would benefit from it, neither tories, labour or SNP would want that changed, despite SNP find it fair to use in the Scottish elections… The world is a strange place.

  13. Problem is, you’re still a citizen of Greece unless you renounce said citizenship and turn over your passport. Is all that genuinely worth it just so you can continue playing games?

    Do your duty for your country and get on with life after it’s done.

  14. Considering you get paid perhaps £14000 in those 9 months compared to your £98000 wage in esports, yes it’s massively worth it.

  15. E-“sports” and money are short lived, whereas renouncing your citizenship is permanent.

  16. Considering he has bought his own house, and has 5 figure bank balance that could last him the rest of his life.. It’s worth it.

  17. Five figures? Rest of his life? Doubtful for sure but in their economy, perhaps. It would take a lot more money than that to get me to renounce my citizenship. Besides, what else does he do? Does he have any other skills besides pew pew pew?

  18. If i was a pro gamer, id still give away even my SWISS citizenship (if I had one), just so that I can in a pro league. I don’t give a crap about military. Besides, what’s the point of it?

  19. I guess if you’ve never served you wouldn’t understand.