ESP Pro League moves season 14 online as COVID-19 continues to hang around
Goodby LAN action
At this point we can all agree that we’ve had enough of COVID-19, mostly because like a bad post-cold cough it seems like it’s never going to go away. The latest casualty as the pandemic drags on and on and on? That would be the ESL Pro League’s decision to play season 14 entirely online. Thanks a whole bunch Delta variant.
Because COVID-19 continues to lead to travel restrictions around the world, tournament organizers have decided to play things safe. Instead of packing up their controllers and headed to Malta, players from 24 teams will do battle by remote.
The decision wasn’t made in vacuum. After considerable input from the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association and the EPL Player Council, remote was declared the way to go.
Announcing the news with a Tweet, ESL Counter-Strike wrote: “We would have loved to continue on LAN, but due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-related travel restrictions, #ESLProLeague S14 will take place online with all 24 teams competing from their homes and boot camp locations within Europe.”
There had been hope that in-person play was going to be possible, this buoyed by a LAN CS:GO tournament in Cologne. The competition was the first LAN event for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive since Covid-19 started ruining everything last spring.
In a statement on ESL Pro League’s decision, ESL said that, despite the success of Cologne, the landscape continues to shift too quickly to make a Malta LAN event 100 percent safe.
“The ever-changing challenges are simply too great to overcome as we are facing different conditions compared to IEM Cologne 2021,” ESL said. “Especially with the drastic rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across Europe, undergoing similar if not tighter safety restrictions without local governing support is not sustainable for players, teams, talent, and our crew as ESL Pro League is twice as long as IEM Cologne. Going online is the safest option to make sure all teams will still be able to compete in Season 14 while not risking anyone getting stuck with travel complications.”