Virtus.pro lineup to compete in ESL Pro League as Outsiders
The CIS squad's players have decided to comply with ESL's requirements and play in the league under a neutral name.
The Virtus.pro roster will participate in the upcoming ESL Pro League Season 15 under the name 'Outsiders' following ESL's decision to ban organizations with ties to the Russian government, Dexerto has confirmed and HLTV.org can corroborate.
Virtus.pro had been among the two organizations identified by the tournament organizer as being linked to the Kremlin. The Russia-based side's ultimate ownership leads to Sogaz, a state-run insurance company that is being targeted with sanctions by the European Union.
The ban was met with discontent from VP as it criticized ESL's decision, claiming that the organization is not connected to the Russian government and calling the move a "prime example of cancel culture."
The Russian side nonetheless decided not to forbid their players from playing in the tournament under ESL's requirements — competing with a neutral name, as well as a promise not to represent the organization and its sponsors on the team's clothing.
Gambit, who has also been identified by ESL as being connected to the Russian government, has yet to comment on the situation and confirm whether the players will participate in the league or not.
ESL Pro League Season 15 kicks off on March 9 with Group A. "Outsiders" have been seeded into Group B, which is set to start on March 16, while Gambit's roster has a spot in Group C a week later.