Gambit Esports has confirmed today that its CS:GO team will play in ESL Pro League season 15 and will respect ESL’s sanctions that were issued on March 2, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The participation of Gambit in ESL Pro League was at risk after ESL prohibited the org and Virtus Pro from being represented at the tournament due to having “apparent ties” to the Russian government. The players are allowed to compete, though, as long as they play under a neutral name and do not represent Russia, their orgs, or any of the orgs’ sponsors in their clothing.
VP criticized ESL for the sanction, but allowed the players to play under the tag ‘Outsiders.’ Gambit took longer but also confirmed Dmitriy “sh1ro” Sokolov will compete. “Gambit Esports was forbidden to participate in ESL Pro League season 15, which will run from March 9 to April 10 in Dusseldorf,” the statement said.
“Our players are allowed to participate in the tournament under a neutral name. As an organization, we won’t hinder the possibility—the players, coaches, and managers have made an incredible effort to earn the right to participate in the tournament,” Gambit said.
In contrast to VP, Gambit chose not to criticize ESL in its statement. There have been other sanctions involving Russian-backed organizations in esports as well. BLAST, one of ESL’s main competitors, banned organizations from Russia from attending tournaments for the foreseeable future and so did Elisa Esports, a minor tournament organizer.
Gambit have been put in the ESL Pro League season 15’s Group C alongside Team Liquid, GODSENT, BIG, Movistar Riders, and Party Astronauts. The action in that group will run from March 23 to 27 and the top three teams will advance to the playoffs.