The organizer of Esports tournaments Blast has announced that he will ban Russian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Teams forbid by its events in Ukraine due to the invasion of the country in Ukraine. This is the first time since the beginning of the conflict that a tournament organizer or developer in Russia has excluded resident teams from participation, though Russian athletes and teams confronted with similar sanctions in the world of traditional sport.
Besides a flat-rate ban of banners of Blast Events, the qualifying game of the CIS region for the Blast Spring Showdown was also canceled. Not only teams from Russia had participated in this event, but it was co-organized and produced by Weplay, a tournament organizer based in Ukraine, and produces the connections to all Russian partners.
In a statement, blast apologizes at CIS CS: Go-fans, claims that this is right in view of the current situation. “We apologize for the fans and players in the CIS region for this decision, but we do not consider it appropriate that this event takes place at this time.
“Gaming and Esports combines people of all races, countries and beliefs. We hope that the situation on the world stage reflects this as soon as possible. “
- Blast Premier (@Blastpremier) 1. March 2022
This ban of Russian team will probably affect directly top CS: Go teams like Gambit and Virtus.pro, both likely to attend upcoming blast events. Gambit was also the winner of last year’s blast Spring Finals and was second at the Blast Premier World Finals 2021.
Blast, however, clarified Luis Mira by Dexerto that only teams based in Russia are excluded from events. Teams who have majority Russian squads, but are located outside of Russia, such as the reigning Blast Prime Minister Champion Na’vi, are not affected.
The cancellation of the CIS qualifying tournament also means that teams from neighboring countries can not qualify for the Spring events of Blast. Teams and players from Kazakhstan, Belarus and even Ukraine have all participated in various CIS qualification tournaments in the past.