ESL Pro League Season 15: Virtus Pro players to compete under “Outsiders” tag
Following the ESL’s imposition of sanctions on Russian-owned teams, Virtus Pro players have decided to compete in the tournament under a neutral tag. This announcement comes after Virtus Pro responded negatively to ESL’s decision, but did not restrict the players from participating.
Virtus Pro’s roster – Dzhami “Jame” Ali, Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis, Alexey “qikert” Golubev, Timur “buster” Tulepov, and Evgeny “FL1T” Lebedev will be seen in the upcoming ESL Pro League Season 15. The e-athletes will compete under the ‘outsiders’ tag in the CS: GO tournament. These players won’t be representing Russia, Virtus Pro, or any of Virtus Pro’s sponsors. A report on Dexerto confirmed their participation.
After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, several sports and esports organizers quickly banned Russian-based teams from upcoming events. ESL didn’t bar players from competing. The organization, however, barred Russian teams from being represented.
Last week, Virtus Pro criticized ESL’s sanctions and expressed their displeasure through a long statement. The organization claimed that they had submitted essential documents to prove that they had no ties to the Russian government.
Further, they said, “ESL refuses to communicate with the club management, preferring speaking directly to the players.” They disapproved of ESL’s stance on the matter and called it a “prime example of ‘cancel culture.'”
Addressing ESL Pro League statement on https://t.co/RghpmPyTHr. pic.twitter.com/sfNliB4rGU
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) March 4, 2022
“We can’t tolerate this kind of behavior. There are no rational reasons to suspend us from playing in tournaments, apart from prejudice and pressure from the outside.”
In the same statement, Virtus Pro stated it won’t forbid their players from taking part.
“They spend lots of time to become pro players, and unlike some tournament operators, we are not ready to invalidate someone else’s efforts.”
The statement further read, “If they decide to play at the tournament, we will support their decision.”
Meanwhile, the other popular Russian esports organization, Gambit Esports, is yet to respond. It is not yet known whether Gambit will compete on ESL Pro League Season 15 or not. The season is all set to start on March 9.
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