German-based production company ESL Gaming has banned teams associated with Russia, following the country’s attack on Ukraine.
This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military forces to invade Ukraine. The West has already imposed sanctions on Russia.
Aside from that, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) have recently boycotted the nation.
Not too long ago, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov urged the video game industry to follow in the footsteps of those disassociating themselves from Russia.
Paying heed to the Prime Minister’s request, ESL will be banning Russian-based esports organizations from the ongoing CS:GO Pro League.
However, it is worth mentioning here that Russian players can still participate. Gambit Esports, Virtus.Pro and other teams, however, will have no presence.
To recall, FaZe Clan beat G2 Esports at the IEM Katowice CS:GO tournament recently to win the Championship. Now, ESL will not permit organizations linked to the Russian government.
ESL Releases A Statement On The Situation
“On the upcoming ESL Pro League, we made the decision that organizations with apparent ties to the Russian government, including individuals or organizations under alleged or confirmed EU sanctions related to the conflict, will not be allowed to be represented (currently we identified two teams – Virtus.pro and Gambit),” ESL said in its statement.
Aside from that, ESL explained that not all Russian players support their country’s decision to attack Ukraine. Nevertheless, these players are now in a challenging position.
However, the esports organizer did not close the door for Russian players, allowing them to continue competing. Their respective organizations have been barred.
“We recognize that players are not complicit with this situation, and we do not think it is in the spirit of esports to impose sanctions on individual players.”
“The Virtus.pro and Gambit players are therefore welcome to compete under a neutral name, without representing their country, organization or their teams’ sponsors on their clothing or otherwise.”
CIS Tournaments Delayed
The organization has decided to postpone the CIS tournament until further notice. Just one day before ESL’s announcement, another CS:GO tournament organizer, BLAST Premier barred all teams from Russia from taking part in future events and canceled the CIS qualifier.
It will be interesting to see if other entities in gaming join forces to support Ukraine. Moreover, it is unclear whether or not Russian players will participate in the ESL Pro League.
Despite the invitation, competitors may end up supporting themselves financially since they will not be representing their respective organizations. Watch this space for the latest esports news.