Team Spirit, an esports organization originally stationed in Moscow, is relocating its employees and teams to Belgrade, Serbia amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Spirit mentioned that “current events” forced it to abandon plans to expand its operation in Moscow and instead move operations to another country.
“The accessibility of esports has always been its unique feature. Wherever you live, whatever you do, whatever you believe in, the doors to esports have always been open for you,” Spirit said in a statement. “However, everything is changing, and one of these changes is the current situation between Russia and Ukraine, where many of our players and employees come from. Given the circumstances, both practical and ethical, the decision to relocate seems like the only right one.”
The majority of players on Spirit’s esports teams are Russian. The CS:GO team features five Russian players and a Russian coach, the only Hearthstone player and streamer signed to the organization is Russian, and the Dota 2 team, which won the latest edition of The International, has three Russians and two Ukrainians.
Spirit faced backlash from part of the community after the move to Belgrade was announced. The original statement does not mention an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, but the organization later said it is “not afraid of using the word <<war>>” and that it has used the word in past statements.