Despite Russian citizens facing strict travel restrictions, professional CS:GO players from the country will be allowed to participate in IEM Katowice next year.
According to HLTV on Dec. 7ESL said there’s nothing preventing Russian players from entering Poland and taking part in IEM Katowice from a legal standpoint.
“As of now, there is no local law indicating that any given team or player cannot enter the premises of Poland and, therefore, not participate in the upcoming tournament in Katowice,” ESL’s statement reads.
HLTV explained that Russian citizens are permitted to enter Poland through other countries that are a part of the Schengen Area. This includes Germany, which issues visas and allows Russian citizens to enter. ESL added that it’s monitoring global sanctions and laws.
In September, Poland, alongside three other Baltic countries—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—imposed a ban on Russian citizens holding EU visas. The Polish official government website reads that the four countries “have agreed on a common regional approach” and introduced temporary measures for Russian citizens. Those traveling “for tourism, culture, sport and business purposes” are restricted from entering Poland.
The same statement adds there will be exceptions but only for those who are “opponents of the Putin regime.”
Regarding teams with Russian players on their roster, only Outsiders have been invited to IEM Katowice so far. Further teams will receive their invites in the near future, based on the ESL World Ranking. Squads like Cloud9 and Natus Vincere, who have Russian players in their lineup, are expected to be invited.
IEM Katowice kicks off on Jan. 31, 2023.