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ESL bans Russian teams and sponsors from the ESL Pro League

Players from affected squads will still be able to compete in the ESL Pro League under a neutral name
ESL bans Russian teams and sponsors from the ESL Pro League

The state of the esports scene in Russia and Eastern Europe has become critical. All this is due to the current conflict between this nation and Ukraine, for which organizations and companies from around the world have announced major changes to their competitive landscape.

While BLAST did the same at the start of March by banning Russian teams from its spring tournaments, it only took a matter of hours for one of the biggest esports companies to make their position known. And as you may have seen in the title, we are talking about ESL.

This German company, famous for its major international CS:GO tournaments such as the ESL Pro League and the Intel Extreme Masters, revealed through a special statement the actions they will take due to the situation in Ukraine.

As confirmed today, the Russian organizations Gambit Esports and Virtus.pro will not be able to compete in Season 15 of the ESL Pro League. This is because, according to ESL reports, both have "apparent links" with the Russian government, which could bring about conflicts of interest in the near future.

“We are all shocked and saddened by the Russian invasion into Ukraine and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution. After monitoring the situation, we are now putting an initial set of actions in place. We made the decision that organizations with ties to the Russian government, including individuals or organizations under EU sanctions related to the conflict, will not be allowed to be represented," ESL said in its official announcement.

Additionally, ESL announced that it will postpone all scheduled competitions in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region until further notice.

A chance to compete in ESL Pro League

Despite the decision of this organization, the players of both teams will still have the right to compete in their flagship tournament, after recognizing they are not complicit in this situation and that the competitive spirit should not be tarnished.

However, the rosters of both squads will only be able to do so under a neutral name, without representing their country, organization or sponsors of their teams on their clothing or otherwise.

"We will monitor and evaluate future competitions and make further decisions as the situation evolves," ESL added.

ESL bans Russian teams
Gambit Esports recently reached the IEM Katowice 2022 quarterfinals. (Picture: ESL)

So far, neither of the two affected squads have disclosed their position on the matter or what will happen to their players, as well as whether they will be allowed to compete in the ESL Pro League under these new conditions.


Featured image courtesy of ESL.