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IEM Cologne 2021 will take place in a five-star hotel with strict COVID-19 safety guidelines, as announced on July 2. This highly-anticipated Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament will feature 24 teams with a play-in, group and playoff stage. IEM Cologne will take place from July 6-18, when the playoffs conclude.

CS:GO has struggled to have offline events ever since COVID-19 shut down all outside activity. Due to this, IEM realizes the concern of bringing 120 players from 20 counties together in one spot. According to IEM, a 50 page COVID-19 protocol document was shared with all teams before the event.

IEM Cologne 2021 will take place in a hotel

Due to a lack of LAN tournaments for CS:GO, IEM Cologne occurring offline is an important step. However, this LAN tournament won’t take place in an event center. Instead, all 120 players will be playing from the safety of a five-star hotel during IEM Cologne. Players and tournament organizers won’t be able to leave the hotel, unless eliminated, during the tournament.

Additionally, teams will not be allowed to compete online. If a team shows up late for any reason, they will not be able to compete online to ensure competitive integrity. The organization stressed that IEM Cologne 2021 is a LAN event that won’t be hindered by the unfair circumstances that online play allows. Therefore, if a team is for some reason unable to play, their spot will be replaced by another team that was previously eliminated from the event.

“This experience will be new for both ESL and the players,” stated IEM when speaking about the guidelines for Cologne. “The ESL team are doing everything they can to ensure that the tournament broadcast has sufficient video and photo support, but also to make player experience as good as it can be within the restrictions of the protocol.”