In what is becoming a weekly occurrence in esports now, the coronavirus outbreak has caused IEM to play the Katowice playoffs without an audience.
The news comes from the Silesia Governor’s concern amid the outbreak, which as yet has no reported cases in Poland. The news comes just days after Katowice city and ESL spokespeople had confirmed the event would likely continue as planned.
ESL is in the process of contacting ticket holders to ensure they’re given a full refund following the Governor’s decision.
Speaking today, ESL released a statement on the news.
“At 19:54 CET we were informed by the Silesian Voivodeship that our mass event license for IEM Katowice was revoked. Until that moment we had a legally binding decision allowing us to organize the event, which was reconfirmed multiple times over the last few days. The last time the decision was confirmed was several hours ago. The Governor of Silesian (Silesian Voivode) Jaroslaw Wieczorek issued a decision to remove their approval regarding ESL hosting a mass event in Katowice, Poland. Due to this development, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 will not have any audience on-site”
With the playoffs set to begin on Friday, giving fans in Europe less than 24 hours to prepare for the sudden change of plans. Group stage matches are already underway.
Prior to this news, ESL had confirmed they would be implementing mandatory health checks for every quest entering to Spodek arena. Sadly, this wasn’t enough for officials as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the globe.
ESL continued by saying: “ESL respects this decision from the local authorities and is currently working on reaching out to all ticket holders, guests, and media. Tickets will be fully refunded. The tournament will be conducted and broadcasted as planned, but without any additional visitors on-site. We are deeply sorry for all fans and players.”