IEM Katowice playoffs to be played without audience due to coronavirus concerns
The playoffs of IEM Katowice will be played without audience due to the Silesian Governor's concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak, it has been announced.
The decision has been made at a time when there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Poland and came as a surprise after assurances from the Katowice city and ESL spokespeople that the event would likely continue to run as planned.
ESL is currently in process of contacting ticket holders to ensure that tickets will be fully refunded following the Silesian Governor's decision.
Originally, the organizers announced on Wednesday that they would implement mandatory health checks for every guest at the Spodek arena doors as a precaution, to potentially disallow attendees with a high temperature from entering the venue.
The event's playoffs are set to begin on Friday with the quarter-finals, which will see Natus Vincere face Liquid and fnatic take on the winner of Group B's lower bracket final match between 100 Thieves and MOUZ. Meanwhile, Astralis and G2 have secured participation in the semi-finals after topping their respective groups on Thursday.
"At 19:54 CET we were informed by the Silesian Voivodeship that our mass event license for IEM Katowice was revoked. Until that moment we had a legally binding decision allowing us to organize the event, which was reconfirmed multiple times over the last few days. The last time the decision was confirmed was several hours ago. The Governor of Silesian (Silesian Voivode) Jaroslaw Wieczorek issued a decision to remove their approval regarding ESL hosting a mass event in Katowice, Poland. Due to this development, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 will not have any audience on-site," a statement from ESL reads.
"ESL respects this decision from the local authorities and is currently working on reaching out to all ticket holders, guests, and media. Tickets will be fully refunded. The tournament will be conducted and broadcasted as planned, but without any additional visitors on-site. We are deeply sorry for all fans and players."