Addressing ESL Pro League statement on Virtus.pro

On March 2nd, ESL notified us that Virtus.pro and Gambit Esports have been withdrawn from ESL Pro League Season 15. It was shortly after ESL requested our club to share the legal and financial information with them: country of registration, ownership and partners details, and whether or not our affiliates are subjected to sanctions. We replied with a full and comprehensive response, backed up by all the necessary paperwork.  

That inquiry was a mere formality, our answer didn’t mean to have any effect. ESL publicly announced that the reason for our disqualification was alleged connection to the government and companies that are now subjected to sanctions. However, there was quite different wording in private texting: even though we are not connected to the government, WE MAKE AN IMPRESSION of it being true.  

We can’t tolerate this kind of behavior. There are no rational reasons to suspend us from playing in tournaments, apart from prejudice and pressure from the outside. It happened in Dubai with a WePlay event, and it keeps on happening.  

ESL offered our players to play under a neutral flag, with another tag and no club jerseys. ESL refuses to communicate with the club management, preferring speaking directly to the players.   

We are facing a prime example of “the cancel culture”. However in this case, there are no ultimatums that are supposed to push us towards certain actions. That’s why we won’t respond to this aggression with aggression of our own by forbidding our players to play in this tournament. They spend lots of time to become pro players, and unlike some tournament operators, we are not ready to invalidate someone else’s efforts. Our players will always be “The Bears”. If they decide to play at the tournament, we will support their decision. 

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