ESL: Russian players can attend IEM Katowice

Despite the tenuous situation at the border Cloud9 and co. should be safe to attend IEM Katowice 2023.

On September 19th, the Polish government announced that a ban on Russian citizens holding Schengen tourist visas would come into force. The legislation was introduced due to Russia's continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, which began on February 24th. This led to widespread speculation that the likes of Cloud9, Outsiders, and members of NAVI, among others, would be unable to attend the prestigious IEM event at the Spodek Arena.

However, ESL have moved to quell the speculation with a statement to HLTV today. The company said:

As of now, there is no local law indicating that any given team or player cannot enter the premises of Poland and, therefore, not participate in the upcoming tournament in Katowice," ESL's statement reads. "EFG [ESL FACEIT Group] remains compliant with all international laws and sanctions, and we will continue to monitor and reshape our global and local business strategies to reflect that.

Essentially, the main consideration for Russian teams and players looking to head to the Spodek is that they cannot directly travel to Poland, but are freely to enter via a third-party EU country like Germany or Czechia. This is a major relief for those teams and for fans of high-quality CS:GO as Russians compromise a sizeable minority of top players.

Additionally, it would go against the spirit of Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev's brave statement at IEM Katowice 2022 last year, where he called for peace and understanding that esports has the power to transcend the horrors of the conflict. While the ferocity and tempo of the war has greatly changed since then, his words are still some of the most poignant in the esports space and an example of responsible stewardship of s1mple's role as the best player in the world.

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#1(With 0 replies)
December 7, 2022 10:17PM
So nice to see we can see top teams at their full power at kato
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