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BLAST Premier bans Russian teams to compete, cancels CIS qualifiers

CS:GO professional esports league series “BLAST Premier” has announced on Tuesday that Russian-based teams will not be invited for the series’ future events following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Seeing the current situation at hand, the organizers also have canceled the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) qualifiers.

“We do not think it is appropriate that this event goes ahead at this time,” the organizers said.

BLAST Premier also apologized to the community, especially those in the CIS region, and has yet to provide more information regarding the event making a comeback in the future.

“We are sorry to the fans and players from the CIS region for this decision, but we do not think it is appropriate that this event goes ahead, at this time,” the tweet reads.

“Gaming and esports unites people from all races, countries and beliefs. We hope the situation on the world stage reflects this as soon as possible.”

What the cancellation means

While BLAST Premier has explicitly stated that it was due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ban is only meant for Russian organizations, not Russian-majority teams as per Dexterto’s Luís Mira.

Therefore, for example, Natus Vincere, a Russian-majority professional esports organization is allowed to compete.

As mentioned previously, CIS Masters Spring 2022, a regional qualifier for the series scheduled to run for three days from March 25-27 has been canceled until further notice.

Previous cases, support

Previously, NAVI’s Ukrainian AWPer Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev made a heartfelt speech at IEM Katowice 2022 and donated one million Ukrainian hryvnias (roughly equal to $33,000) to the Ukrainian army.

“All of us want peace—for Ukraine, and for whole world,” S1mple said. “All of us are scared, and all of us need to show an example at this tournament. We need to stay together as a unit, with our fans, with our friends, and with everybody watching. And we all need to stay humans first.”

S1mple’s gesture has encouraged fellow professional players and organizations to take a stand against the ongoing invasion. And BLAST Premier is one among the many to show support for Ukraine.

Joining the movement this week is WePlay Holding, a Ukrainian-based holding company cutting ties and terminating partnership agreements with Russian and Belarusian companies. The company will refrain from advertising Russian-origin brands and ceasing cooperation with contractors from Russia.

The company has announced they will not be organizing Russian-language broadcasting, instead opted for community casting or Ukrainian-language broadcast instead for the upcoming DOTA 2 invitational series, Gamers Galaxy: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022.

The holding company in a statement added that it “cannot stand aside” following the invasion.

“The Russian Federation committed an act of attack against the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine,” WePlay’s statement reads.

“In connection with these events, WePlay Holding cannot stand aside.”

As of now, the current development between Russia and Ukraine suggests neither side is ready to budge. After a series of international sanctions on Russia and aid to Ukraine, the two is ready to conduct more peace talks, but then again the future still remains in great doubt.