Image via Virtus Pro

Virtus Pro brand allowed in the biggest CS:GO tournaments again after over one year

No more Outsiders.

Virtus Pro’s CS:GO team are no longer forced to play under the neutral tag Outsiders in both ESL and BLAST tournaments moving forward.

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“Virtus Pro, the international esports club, is being reintegrated into BLAST (starting from March 22) and ESL (starting from March 28) tournaments,” VP said today in a statement on social media.

“We welcome the decision of BLAST and ESL to return Virtus Pro to their tournaments as a result of the in-depth reviews that confirmed the club has met the requirements for reintegration,” VP’s CEO Nikolai Petrossian added.

ESL banned the VP brand from its tournaments in March 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine because of its alleged ties with the Russian government. BLAST, on the other hand, prohibited Russian-based teams from attending its tournaments but later allowed VP to compete in the BLAST Premier World Final as Outsiders.

The reintegration comes mere days after Russian technology company VK, the previous owner of VP that has ties with Russia’s state company Sogaz, confirmed the sale of the organization in its 2022 annual report.

The change of VP’s ownership was announced in September 2022 by the Armenian investor Aram Karamanukyan. The legitimacy of the sale raised question marks in December, though, when Karamanukyan appointed Petrossian as the CEO of VP. Petrossian is the former chief of the company ESforce, which is owned by VK. This left part of the community wondering whether VP was totally free of Russian influence.

ESL told Dot Esports that due to the recent change of ownership, VP no longer meets ESL’s “criteria” for suspension. VP’s female team will also be allowed to play with the organization’s name, ESL confirmed.

Dot Esports reached out to BLAST regarding the change of stance but has received no response at this time.

With BLAST and ESL changing their stances, VP will be allowed to play with the team’s own name instead of using the Outsiders tag in upcoming tournaments like the BLAST Paris Major Europe RMR and IEM Rio in April.


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Author
Leonardo Biazzi
Staff writer and CS:GO lead. Leonardo has been passionate about games since he was a kid and graduated in Journalism in 2018. Before Leonardo joined Dot Esports in 2019, he worked for Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte. Leonardo also worked for HLTV.org between 2020 and 2021 as a senior writer, until he returned to Dot Esports and became part of the staff team.