PGL bans Gambit and Virtus.pro organizations from Antwerp Major

PGL is the next organizer to weigh in on the global situation.

Less than two weeks away from the European RMRs, tournament organizer PGL has banned Russian organizations with ties to the government from participating in the Major, including the RMR qualifying events. This decision follows in the footsteps of fellow international tournament organizers BLAST and ESL as a direct response to the Russian invasion of the nation of Ukraine. Although the organizations and their likeness are prohibited from being in the Major, the players will still be allowed to participate under neutral names and jerseys.

With the Major cycle already underway, the two teams directly affected by this rule change are Gambit and Virtus.pro. The two squads are not strangers to this predicament, as Gambit entered EPL Season 16 under the name “Players” with Virtus.pro opting for the name “Outsiders” in the same event. With those two squads already establishing secondary names, it is assumed, but not confirmed, that they will use the same names in the Major.

EPL was met with mixed results for both these teams, and they failed to make it inside of the top eight. With the RMR just around the corner, these squads will have to patch the holes in the game as well as ignore the out-of-server distractions, a tall task. The European RMR A, in which Gambit’s lineup are participants, kicks off on April 17th. RMR B, hosting Virtus.pro’s lineup, will commence on April 21st, a day after the end of RMR A.

Although Gambit and Virtus.pro are not the only Russian-based organizations in the events, they are the only two directly affected by this decision. This comes as a byproduct of the two organizations' identified connections to the Russian government. Virtus.pro's major ownership is Sogaz, a Russian insurance company being sanctioned by the European Union. As for Gambit, they were linked to the Russian government by ESL, which fueled their decision last month.

A critical issue not elaborated on by PGL in this announcement is the issue of stickers and the money associated with them. Stickers provide a considerable amount of money from sales, to the point where player contracts usually make some note of how the sticker money is distributed amongst the team. With the stance taken in this announcement, it seems highly likely that PGL and Valve would not be interested in letting either organization receive sticker money, should they be eligible for stickers. This could have lasting consequences for these teams, due to the significance of sticker money revenue.

#1(With 0 replies)
April 10, 2022 01:17PM
R700
No one stopped to ask... what sticker they gonna add when Gambit/VP inevitably qualify?

Would suck balls if because of their org, players can't get their signatures in game. That shit provides a landfall of cash and it would be so unjust if all the other teams/players get it while VP/Gambit are left out to dry. I get why we are doing these sanctions, but I would argue that these sanctions cause more damage to the players themselves than it does to the "oligarch org owners". If I'm Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the tiny tiny amount of my portfolio that is Gambit is not in any way a concern when compared to the other sanctions being levied against my other ventures.

As I said, I fear this will only hurt the players- not the oligarchs. What happens when Gambit and VP inevitably drop their rosters? "Oh someone will sign them bro!"- no they won't. At least not a good org. An org like Cloud9 for example, would not be willing to take the negative optics of signing Russian players (although I would argue it is vital to distinguish the individual from the state).

But I digress, no one will think sensibly in the era of optics and virtue signaling... :(
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