ESL updates Cologne qualification system due to coronavirus outbreak
ESL has announced that it has revamped the qualification system for ESL One Cologne following the changes to the tournament landscape caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision comes in the aftermath of the regionalization of a series of tournaments that were supposed to be global competitions, creating "divisions of unequal strength" where performances "can no longer be compared reliably".
The ESL Pro League was recently split into two divisions — Europe and North America —, while the DreamHack Masters event in Jönköping will be moved to an online setting with four different regions as tournament organisers try to adapt to a new reality following the coronavirus outbreak.
Instead of merely inviting the top 16 teams according to the ESL Pro Tour ranking (eight going to the main event and eight to the Play-In stage), ESL will distribute spots based on the strength of each region, which was determined by the number of slots that regions currently hold in the ranking.
The slot allocation is the following:
ESL One Cologne Final 16:
North America: 2
ESL One Cologne Play-In:
North America: 3
Teams will retain their previously-won ESL Pro Tour ranking points and will continue to fight for qualification via ESL Pro League, DreamHack Masters Spring and ESL One: Road to Rio, the first of two Regional Major Rankings (RMR) series that will feed points towards 2020's Counter-Strike Major. To find the points values for these events towards the Pro Tour ranking, head over to ESL's website.
The teams invited to the Play-In stage will be joined by eight other sides, though it is unclear at the moment how they will be determined.
ESL One Cologne is scheduled to take place from July 6-12, with the playoffs held at the Lanxess-Arena. It will be the first Masters Championship event to have $1 million on offer (IEM Katowice still had $500,000) following the introduction of the ESL Pro Tour.