BLAST Premier, a popular pro CS:GO Esports League, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, has banned teams based in Russia from participating in events for the “foreseeable future” and canceled the upcoming CIS qualifier.
The organizer apologized to fans and players from the region in one post on social media today and said she didn’t think the event was “appropriate” at this time. “Games and sports unite people of all races, countries and creeds,” BLAST said. “We hope that the situation on the world stage will reflect this as soon as possible.”
This decision follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked a bloody and brutal war in the eastern European country over the past six days. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of civilians have reportedly killed since the conflict began on February 24.
The CIS qualifier for the BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown was scheduled to start on March 25 and will feature Russia-based teams including forZe. This team, as well as several others, will now be excluded from participation.
Related: CS:GO pro s1mple donates $33,000 to support the Ukrainian army
It is currently unclear if Gambit Esports, the Russian team that placed second at the 2021 BLAST Premier: World Final, will be banned from participating in future events because they are a partner organization of BLAST. Virtus.pro, another Russia-based team, also falls into this category.
Natus Vincere despite having three Russian players with him CS:GO Roster, are not affected by this ban as they are based in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, the team’s standout player, said in a moving and emotional speech at IEM Katowice on February 25: “We all want peace for Ukraine and the whole world”.