BLAST Denies Invite to Russia-Based CS:GO Teams Due to Ukraine Crisis
BLAST takes a firm stand due to conflict in Ukraine.
One of the biggest CS:GO tournament organizers, BLAST, has taken a decision to not invite any Russian-based teams to their tournaments for the foreseeable future, due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Their stance on the situation has received a mixed reaction from the CS:GO community, with many calling them out for creating a divide in esports, something that is supposed to bring people from all regions of the world together.
Further, BLAST has also decided to cancel the CIS qualifier (WePlay CIS Masters: Spring 2022) for BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown 2022, while stating that, "We do not think it is appropriate that this event goes ahead, at this time".
BLAST pledges not to invite Russia-based CS:GO teams for the foreseeable future
The tournament organizer that has created one of the most fun and beloved annual CS:GO circuits, BLAST Premier, has taken a bold decision to deny all Russia-based teams from all their events for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, BLAST has also decided to cancel the scheduled WePlay CIS Masters: Spring 2022 which was basically acting as the CIS qualifier for the BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown 2022. It was supposed to take place from 25th to 27th March with teams like Entropiq, forZe, K23, and Virtus.pro already having received a direct invite for the tournament.
"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," read the concluding statement from BLAST.
Further clarification from HLTV has revealed that Ukrainian organization Natus Vincere (NAVI) who fought through the Spring Groups to qualify for BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2022, will not be affected by this decision. This is because despite having a mixed Russian-Ukrainian CS:GO lineup, they are basically based in Ukraine.
However, this decision does affect a few notable CS:GO teams based in Russia like Gambit, Virtus.pro, forZe, and Team Spirit. But from BLAST's point of view, this decision does not actually affect them adversely as all their partner organizations are safe.
This move from BLAST follows other international sporting entities from around the world such as FIFA, UEFA, IIHF, and more who have decided to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in sporting competitions, as per the IOC's recommendation.