- Outsiders qualified for the event by winning the IEM Rio Major 2022
- The team changed its name to Outsiders in March because of sanctions against Russia
- An Instagram post confused fans of the org is once again going to play as Virtus.pro
Having severed ties with the Russian government, Virtus.pro hoped that it will once again play under its brand, but it seems it will continue as Outsiders for the foreseeable future.
Outsiders Will Keep the Name
Many things are subject to the larger political situation of the world and unfortunately, esports sometimes also falls under that category. This becomes even more complicated for organizations that are in some way linked to countries that are not viewed with good eyes in the international community.
Such is the case for Outsiders, whose normal name is Virtus.pro, an organization linked with the Russian government, as its old owner was an oligarch with links to the Kremlin. Because of this, the CS:GO team was banned from the Pro League in early March, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global condemnation of that war.
However, Russian players were allowed to play, as long as they did not “represent their country, organization or their teams’ sponsors on their clothing or otherwise,” as a statement by the ESL read. Because of this, Virtus.pro aptly adopted the name Outsiders in order to participate in various CS:GO events throughout the year.
It seems that the organization will be keeping this name for the foreseeable future. The team recently won the IEM Rio Major 2022, thus qualifying for the BLAST Premier World Final next month. However, fans were confused when on November 28 an Instagram post by Virtus.pro showed an image about the tournament that included their logo, rather than Outsiders’, on the list of the eight participating teams. When contacted about this, BLAST stated that the team will play as Outsiders and not their old name.
Difficulties with the Name
Virtus.pro’s situation has been somewhat difficult the past few months. The organization was banned from participating in many tournaments, but a few months ago it was announced that Armenian businessman Aram Karamanueven is the organization’s new CEO. But even though Karamanukyan and his business partner own all of Virtus.pro’s assets, including player contracts, Virtus.pro’s logo was nowhere to be seen during the Rio Major.
However, in an interview for Dexerto, the CEO stated that he hopes this will soon be changing. Earlier this year, just days after Karamanukyan became the organization’s new CEO, Valve announced it is allowing Virtus.pro to be represented at TI 2022. Karamanukyan stated that he hopes other tournament organizers like ESL and BLAST will also do the same soon. “I would be very surprised if the decision of the tournament operators contradicted it,” he noted.
But despite Virtus.pro’s claims that they are no longer associated with the Russian government, their CS:GO team will play as Outsiders, at least for a few more months.