ESL Pro League season 14 to be played online due to travel restrictions

ESL is concerned with the "drastic rise" of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across Europe.

Image via Valve

ESL Pro League season 14 will be held online due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-related travel restrictions, the tournament organizer announced today.

The next season of the CS:GO Pro League was meant to take place in Malta. But now, all 24 teams will have to play the tournament remotely from Europe. ESL made this decision alongside the EPL Player Council and the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA). The tournament will be played under the same conditions as ESL Pro League season 13, which saw Heroic take down Gambit in the grand finals in April.

This news comes just two days after ESL successfully organized IEM Cologne on LAN, the first premier CS:GO tournament to be played offline since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We would have loved to continue on LAN, but with the first playday kicking off in four weeks, the ever-changing challenges are simply too great to overcome as we are facing different conditions compared to IEM Cologne 2021,” ESL said in an official statement. “Especially with the drastic rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across Europe, undergoing similar if not tighter safety restrictions without local governing support is not sustainable for players, teams, talent, and our crew as ESL Pro League is twice as long as IEM Cologne. Going online is the safest option to make sure all teams will still be able to compete in Season 14 while not risking anyone getting stuck with travel complications.”

ESL said it will continue to evaluate the world’s global health status and will work toward organizing two more tournaments on LAN: IEM Fall from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 and IEM Winter from Dec. 2 to 12.