Virtus Pro responds to ESL: “We are facing a prime example of ‘the cancel culture'”

The players, however, are free to participate in the upcoming ESL Pro League.

Image via Virtus Pro

Virtus Pro has responded to ESL’s statement released on Wednesday, March 2. The Russian organization has expressed its condemnation of the tournament organizer’s stance on whether to allow VP to play in the upcoming ESL Pro League season 15.

Two days ago, ESL imposed sanctions on Russian companies following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which started last week. Unlike in other sports, ESL isn’t restricting the players of Russian organizations, like Virtus Pro and Gambit Esports, from taking part in the upcoming ESL Pro League. It said they can “compete under a neutral name, without representing their country, organization or their teams’ sponsors on their clothing or otherwise.”

Now, Virtus Pro has released its own statement, disagreeing with ESL’s position. “We can’t tolerate this kind of behavior. There are no rational reasons to suspend us from playing in tournaments, apart from prejudice and pressure from the outside,” it reads.

The Russian organization claims that it provided ESL with all the paperwork that was necessary to prove that the org’s “affiliates are [not] subjected to sanctions.” Still, it seems that this didn’t help in disconnecting Virtus Pro from Russia, the country in which it was founded and operates. VP is owned by ESforce Holding, which is reportedly a part of a large Russian ownership group that’s been targeted by U.S. and EU sanctions, according to dust2.us.

“ESL offered our players to play under a neutral flag, with another tag and no club jerseys,” the org’s statement reads. “ESL refuses to communicate with the club management, preferring speaking directly to the players.”

Virtus Pro claims it’s “facing a prime example of ‘the cancel culture.'” But it looks like it will be the players’ choice as to whether they’ll take part in the upcoming ESL Pro League season 15. “If they decide to play at the tournament, we will support their decision,” VP said.

The organization was also in the news a few days ago, claiming it was threatened with disqualification from GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022.

ESL Pro League season 15 is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 9.