BLAST pledges not to invite Russia-based teams in foreseeable future
The tournament organizer has cited the Ukrainian conflict as a reason for their stance.
BLAST Premier will not invite any Russia-based teams to play in its events "for the foreseeable future" amid the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the tournament organizer has announced.
HLTV.org has reached out to BLAST for clarification and learned that this does not concern current No. 1 side Natus Vincere, who qualified for the BLAST Premier Spring Final, as the organization is based in Ukraine.
Among the most notable teams affected whose organizations are based in Russia are Gambit, Virtus.pro, FORZE, and Spirit. These teams would have had to qualify or be directly invited to play in the BLAST circuit, as they are not partnered with the tournament organizer.
The company has also announced that the CIS qualifier for the BLAST Spring Showdown, WePlay CIS Masters Spring, has been cancelled. Virtus.pro, Entropiq, K23, and FORZE were set to participate in the qualifier, among with four other teams who had yet to be revealed.
"We are sorry to our fans and players from the CIS region for this decision, but we do not think it is appropriate that this event goes ahead, at this time," a part of BLAST's statement reads.
BLAST's move follows a wide variety of other sporting entities who decided to ban Russian representatives from their events, such as FIFA, UEFA, and the IIHF, following the International Olympic Committee's recommendation to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in sporting competitions.