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Gambit & Virtus.pro to compete under neutral banner in ESL Pro League S15

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As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, the gaming world has been reeling over the implications this will have on the competitive landscape in each title.

So far, certain tournament organizers have been quick to act when it comes to expelling Russian teams from competition.

Yesterday, BLAST Premier announced that they would be rescinding invitations to all Russian teams and cancelling the CIS qualifier.

In the DOTA world, Virtus.pro had been “threatened with disqualification from GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 International Series Dubai 2022.”

Read our official statement on the situation: https://t.co/3gfQkzKLJU pic.twitter.com/VYgIcfcMjd

— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) March 1, 2022

We have still yet to see the dominoes of VALORANT and Fortnite fall, but they may come soon.

Gambit, a Russian-based org, has one of the best teams in the world in VALORANT – currently playing in EMEA Challengers.

BLAST recently picked up the broadcasting side of the Fortnite FNCS, so it’s logical to think that Russian players may be banned from that tournament as well – although the finals are set to finish this weekend.

Most recently, ESL Pro League announced that Gambit and Virtus.pro would only allow to compete “under a neutral name, without representing their country, organization or their teams’ sponsors on their clothing or otherwise.”

Our statement on Ukraine.

Read more: https://t.co/QMrakmtC5P pic.twitter.com/fFebyPoXMo

— ESL (@ESL) March 2, 2022

The decision is not unexpected. Some even though that these teams would be barred from the competition altogether.

At the very least, the hard work of the Gambit and Virtus.pro players will not go to waste. In their statement, ESL acknowledged that, “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.”

All we can do is hope that this situation resolves itself sooner rather than later.

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