Intel Extreme Masters announced via Twitter that IEM Katowice would continue in spite of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. ESL will continue to monitor the situation but, as of now, nothing has changed surrounding the event.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to begin an invasion of Ukraine. The geopolitical consequences of the war stretch far and include esports pros who are affected by the conflict. The concerns in the esports community led to ESL reaffirming that IEM Katowice will continue as planned for the time being.
“Our current priority is to support the players, the talent and the staff who may be affected by [the situation in Ukraine],” the statement reads.
We are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine. Our current priority is to support the players, the talent and the staff who may be affected by it.
The SC2 & CSGO tournaments will continue as planned.
— Intel® Extreme Masters (@IEM) February 24, 2022
Although the tournament is held in Katowice, Poland, many of the participating players, talent and ESL staff are directly or indirectly impacted by the ongoing geopolitical situation. On the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive side of the event, four of the remaining six teams — Gambit Esports, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports and Virtus.pro — have players from Russia and/or Ukraine.
The world’s No. 1 team Na’Vi have three players from Russia, two from Ukraine and a Ukrainian coach. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev has been active on social media, condemning the violence and expressing fears for his home city of Kiev, Ukraine.
My city is shelled r fck n
— Sasha (@s1mpleO) February 24, 2022
Na’Vi, who are headquartered in Kyiv, recently released their own statement. The Ukrainian organization said that their main focus is to “try to stay calm and take care of ourselves, our loved ones and those who need help.”
While there aren’t any players from Russia or Ukraine competing on the StarCraft 2 side of IEM Katowice, a cancelation would likely affect both CS:GO and SC2. The CS:GO playoffs are slated to take place in front of a live audience at the Spodek arena in Katowice from Feb. 25-27. The SC2 group stage and playoffs will run from Feb. 24-27.