FURIA enlist co-owner André Akkari as coach for IEM Rio Major
The team will have their professional poker player co-owner backing them up during their home Major.
FURIA will have neither of their regular coaches standing behind them in their IEM Rio Major campaign, and will instead field co-owner André Akkari in the hope his presence will benefit the team in tense situations during matches.
The information was first reported by Dust2.com.br, who reached out to ESL to confirm that the change had taken place in time for the roster deadline, as well as to FURIA for comment on the reason for the swap.
Akkari said the decision for him to join the team for the Major was made by head coach Nicholas "guerri" Nogueira, who hopes that the co-owner can help in high-pressure situations. Akkari is a seasoned poker professional, having won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2011, and co-founded FURIA in 2017 alongside CEO Jaime Pádua and fellow investor Cris Guedes.
By stepping in for the Major, Akkari will take the place of assistant coach Marcos "tacitus" Castilho, who stood behind FURIA at the previous two PGL Majors and their respective RMRs, as well in Stockholm for the IEM Rio Americas RMR.
FURIA's head coach guerri is not eligible to stand behind the team at Valve-sponsored events due to his ban for the coaching bug, which was imposed by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in late 2020.
guerri received concessions toward his ban due to fully cooperating with the esport watchdog's investigation and offering evidence of his innocence, resulting in a reduced ban length for ESIC member events. However, Valve refused to apply those concessions to their own bans, and as a result guerri remains unable to participate in Valve Majors until the end of 2023.
Akkari stated on Twitter that FURIA made every effort to resolve the situation with Valve, enlisting lawyers in hopes that they could argue their case and have guerri's ban lifted in time for the Major. The effort proved to be in vain however, and instead Akkari himself will be behind the squad during their campaign, while both guerri and tacitus will back up the team off the server with pre-match and analytical help.
FURIA's roster on the server for the IEM Rio Major is:
André Akkari (coach)