- The war in Ukraine was cited as the reason for the ban
- Russian-based teams will not be able to attend any of the organization’s tournaments
- Some of the biggest CS:GO teams are affected by BLAST’s decision
The second-largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament organizer BLAST Premier has banned all Russian-based teams from participating in its events.
BLAST bans Russian Teams
The war in Ukraine continues to have far-reaching effects on life outside of the conflict area and directly involved countries. From rising fuel prices to EU countries passing new laws, even the world of esports is not left untouched by an ever more escalating conflict. Many pro players and organizations have condemned the war, with some banning Russian competitors from attending tournaments. Yet another organizer to join that growing list is BLAST Premier, the second-largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament organizer in the world.
“Due to the conflict in Ukraine, no Russian-based team will be invited to play in our events for the foreseeable future,” the organization announced on March 1.
BLAST Premier also stated that the CIS qualifier will also be canceled. Before this, the organizer for the tournament WePlay Esports announced on February 26 that it would be terminating its cooperation with all partners from the Russian Federation.
Who Is Affected by This?
Three organizations will be the ones most negatively affected by BLAST’s recent decisions, these being Team Spirit, Gambit Esports, and Virtus.pro. These three will be no longer eligible for qualification to the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown 2022, which is the organization’s biggest event in the first half of the year. It has to be said that not all players from the affected teams are Russian nationals.
Despite BLAST’s decision, ESL Counter-Strike, the world’s leading CS:GO tournament organizer, has not issued an official statement regarding Russian-based teams. This comes the week after IEM Katowice, where both Gambit Esports and Virtus.pro reached the quarterfinals.
Other CS: GO-affiliated entities have also broken ties with Russian organizations. One such is Natus Vincere, who recently broke off cooperation with Epic Esports Events, Cybersports.ru, Virtus.pro, and Ruhub. “ESFORCE Holding publicly denies the horror that is now happening in Ukraine,” said NaVi in its statement.
And while organizations and players are denouncing Russian-based teams to participate, some players are looking for ways to help Ukraine. For example, Ukrainian CS:GO pro s1mple recently donated over $30 000 to the Ukrainian armed forces.