blames "cancel culture" for ESL Pro League removal

by Adam Fitch  ·  Updated blames "cancel culture" for ESL Pro League removal

Russian esports organization has responded to ESL's decision to remove the org from the upcoming CS:GO Pro League season.

The context: The ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia is the underlying reason for the decision.

The response: management isn't happy with the decision, perhaps unsurprisingly.

  • The organization claimed in a March 4 tweet that ESL requested legal and financial information to fully understand its ownership and partnership ties in Russia.
  • allegedly provided "a full and comprehensive response" with the "necessary paperwork" to no avail, with management believing that the tournament organizer never intended to rescind the decision if it was proven VP had no condemning connections.
  • The team went on to call its dismissal from ESL Pro League a result of "cancel culture" and it would not "respond to this aggression with aggression of our own," instead allowing its players to compete in neutral branding should they wish.

Behind the scenes: Let's take a quick look at the ownership of Gambit and

    •'s parent company ESforce is owned by Russian internet company VK, formerly known as Group. 57.3% of VK's shares were sold to insurance company Sogaz, which was sanctioned by the European Union on February 28 due to the invasion, in December 2021.
    • Gambit is owned by Russian mobile network and telecommunications giant MTS. Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov is the majority owner of Sistema, which has a 50.3% stake in MTS. Yevtushenkov was one of "at least" 13 billionaires that met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, the same day the Ukrainian invasion commenced.
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