ESL One Cologne at risk as Germany suspends all major events until August 31 *
Germany has reportedly extended the ban on all major events at least until the end of August because of the coronavirus outbreak, leaving this year's ESL One Cologne edition in doubt.
According to the German Press Agency, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, will announce the restriction later on Wednesday, with specific regulations, including the size of the events that can go ahead, expected to be made by the federal states shortly.
ESL One Cologne is due to take place from July 6-12, with the playoffs being held at the Lanxess-Arena, Germany’s largest indoor arena, with a capacity of over 15,000 people. The tournament will have $1 million on offer, the highest prize pool since the 2016 edition, which was a Valve-supported Major.
Contacted by HLTV.org, ESL declined to comment.
ESL is one of the tournament organisers that have been the most hit by the coronavirus pandemic. In late February, it was forced to host the IEM Katowice playoffs without an audience following a last-minute decision from the Governor of Silesian (Silesian Voivode) to revoke the tournament's mass event license.
Last month, it was announced that the first Major of 2020, called ESL One Rio, had been rescheduled from May 11-24 to November. It will have an increased $2 million prize pool, up from $1 million, and will replace the 2020 Fall Major, with the playoffs running from November 19-22 at the Jeunesse Arena.
Season 11 of the ESL Pro League was supposed to be played entirely on LAN, with the early stages in Malta and the finals in Denver, but ESL had to reshape the tournament and move it to an online setting, creating two divisions, Europe and North America.
ESL updated last week the qualification system for the Cologne event. The four competing regions (Europe, North America, Asia and Ocenia) have been allocated a certain number of spots based on their current strength according to the ESL Pro Tour ranking. DreamHack Masters Spring and ESL One: Road to Rio are the next two tournaments awarding points towards the ranking.
UPDATE: On Twitter, ESL announced that it is currently trying to assess what this restriction means for ESL One Cologne, adding that it will update the community "as soon as possible."