BLAST Premier bans all Russian-based teams from joining their events.
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, BLAST Premier bans all Russian-based teams for the foreseeable future. The organization also decided to cancel the CIS qualifier, preventing teams based in the CIS region from joining the event.
Russia's place in CS:GO
Russia is home to some of the biggest organizations in esports. Out of the current six best teams in CS:GO, two of them are based in Russia: Gambit Esports and Virtus.pro. This ban only applies to Russian-based teams. Those with a majority of Russian players but based in another country can still participate in BLAST events.
Natus Vincere, who is the top-ranked CS:GO side according to HLTV, has already qualified for the BLAST Premier Spring Final. Even if NaVi includes three Russian and three Ukrainian players, the team is based in Ukraine. Therefore, the ban doesn't apply to them. NaVi also broke off corporate ties with their former Russian partner ESforce Holding, owner of Virtus.pro.
WePlay also canceled the CIS qualifier. Virtus.pro, Entropiq, K23, and forZe were supposed to play in this event, alongside four other unannounced teams.
The consequences of BLAST's ban on Russian teams
The ban on Russian-based teams from the upcoming BLAST Premier tournaments impacts the entire professional CS:GO scene. While there will be more room for other teams to rank up in the standings, it also means that some of the best players in the world won’t be able to attend these major events.
Outside the gaming scene, Russia has already been banned from all international football competitions, the Eurovision Song Contest, and is pending a decision from the International Olympic Committee. The decision by BLAST Premier to ban all Russian-based teams is the first major impact of the Ukrainian conflict on the CS:GO scene. As the war in Ukraine is still raging, more restrictions upon Russian organizations and teams may occur in the upcoming weeks.