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Published: July 20, 2022

Written by: Isabella Aslam

  • The Copenhagen Masters will see Ukrainian and Russian players go up against one another
  • Riot, however, has forbidden all players to walk out with national flags on stage
  • The company says this is to prevent the event from becoming politicized

FPX’s ANGE1 reminds everyone what’s happening in his native Ukraine and explains why he cannot bring his nation’s flag on the stage.

Players Barred from Carrying Flags

It’s a common sight in many sports events for competitors to walk out on the court or ring, or whatever carrying the flag of the home country they are representing. Esports events are no exception to that trend and in recent years we’ve been seeing more and more players walk out on stage with their country’s flag.

This is normally seen as a symbol of one’s pride and devotion to the nation they are representing, however, participants have been barred from doing so in the ongoing VALORANT Champions Tour 2022: Stage 2 Masters in Copenhagen. Ukrainian player Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov from FunPlus Phoenix reminded people on Twitter that he and other players are barred from walking out on stage with their nation’s flags due to the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.

Posting a picture on Twitter of himself wrapped up in the Ukrainian flag, ANGE1 wrote saying he wants to remind the world he cannot go out on stage with said flag, but he still wants people to know about the conflict in his home country.

The War Affects Even Esports

Closing on its fifth month, the brutal conflict raging in Eastern Europe has already cost an estimated tens of thousands of killed – soldiers and civilians. The war has had consequences reaching far outside the borders of the directly affected countries. From a massive wave of war refugees to skyrocketing prices for certain goods, the world as a whole is feeling the effects of the war.

These effects reach even the world of esports and the many organizations and players that are based or operate in Ukraine and Russia. Many Russian esports clubs have fallen under the sanctions of the EU and others have been barred by tournament organizers to participate under their national colors. In the comments of his post, ANGE1 explained that Riot’s decision to ban players from taking out their national flags was to avoid any politicizing of the Copenhagen Masters.

He clarified that all players fall under said ban, and considering both Ukraine and Russia are fielding players at the event, things might get a bit too political, a bit too quickly.

And while streamers and esports pros are helping Ukrainian civilians, by all estimates It seems the war is going to continue for many more months, so it’s unlikely Riot and other tournament organizers will lift the current bans and protocols.  

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