The Russian eSports Federation responded to the attacks against Virtus.pro and Gambit Esports by expressing its position on the ongoing events in eSports and on the world stage. In particular, the body criticized the tournament operators BLAST and ESL, and also touched upon the Ukrainian studios Maincast and WePlay.
For the past 10 days, the Russian eSports Federation has been watching with concern how the international sports community, international federations and organizations are neglecting and destroying the fundamental traditions of sports that have been laid down for decades. The ties between people who were united by sports and the desire for perfection of their skills are also being destroyed. Our Russian athletes are now being subjected to attacks, pressure and other unsportsmanlike actions.
We have always believed that sport should remain outside of politics, contributing to the rapprochement of people. But, unfortunately, both Russian esportsmen and teams, as well as the entire Russian-speaking audience of esports competitions, were subjected to discriminatory and offensive actions.
Due to huge pressure from the organizers of the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 tournament, the famous Russian esports club Virtus.pro was forced to withdraw from participation. All Russian teams received a ban from participation in tournaments from BLAST, the teams Virtus.pro and Gambit Esports were disqualified from the ESL Pro League tournament.
The last straw in the promotion of anti-Russian rhetoric in sports was the semifinal match between the Ukrainian team NAVI, which includes three athletes from Russia, and the European team G2, where a Russian also plays, as part of the IEM Katowice 2022 tournament. The official Russian-language broadcast hosted by the Ukrainian studio Maincast, watched by more than 300 thousand viewers, of which at least 200 thousand were from Russia. Match commentators Arseniy Trynozhenko and Konstantin Sivko throughout the broadcast repeatedly touched upon the political situation in Russia and Ukraine, made anti-Russian statements and calls for unrest in the Russian Federation, and also insulted the President of Russia.
The owner of the studio, Vitaly Volochay, also went beyond computer sports, insulting all Russian-speaking people, which, by the way, he himself is, speaking with threats and nationalist slogans on various social platforms.
We consider such actions unacceptable and degrading to human dignity.
Over the years, we have worked and interacted side by side with Ukrainian colleagues and we believe that many do not share the position of their colleagues from Maincast. But since Vitaly Volochay, representing this studio, allows himself unprofessional and openly anti-Russian behavior, we believe that the Maincast studio itself adheres to this position.
Such behavior in sports and computer sports is unacceptable.
The Russian eSports Federation is making every effort to protect the rights of Russian e-sports players and teams, as well as to ensure their participation in the international arena. After all, it is the ability to unite people around the world and the absence of borders between them that is the main value of eSports.
Peace for everyone.
Recall that earlier ESL suspended the Virtus.pro and Gambit Esports teams from participating in their tournaments, including the upcoming ESL Pro League Season 15. The tournament operator explained his decision by the fact that the organizations are somehow connected with the Russian Government. However, ESL did not restrict the players and allowed them to compete in the championship, but under a neutral status.
In addition, recently Virtus.pro was removed from GAMERS GALAXY: Invitational Series Dubai 2022. It was reported that the unofficial reason was the club's lack of position regarding the military conflict in Ukraine. At the same time, the organizers of the championship did not make a statement, deciding to exclude the team from the schedule.