The IEM Rio Major champions will compete under the name ‘Outsiders’ at the upcoming BLAST Premier World Final, Dexerto has confirmed.
While contracted to Virtus.pro, the Russian CS:GO team has been forced to play under the neutral name of Outsiders, without any reference to their organization or sponsors, since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, a November 28 Instagram post from Virtus.pro created confusion as to the name under which the team would compete at the upcoming World Final event, in Abu Dhabi. Virtus.pro posted an image about the tournament that included their logo, rather than Outsiders’, on the list of the eight participating teams.
Contacted by Dexerto, BLAST stated that the team will play as Outsiders — the name under which they won the IEM Rio Major earlier this month. It was thanks to that victory that Outsiders secured a spot at the BLAST Premier World Final, the event that bring the curtain down on the CS:GO season.
Heroic, who won the BLAST Premier Fall Final event last weekend, NAVI, and FaZe Clan are some of the other teams attending the $1 million event, which will be held at the Etihad Arena between December 14 and 18.
A difficult subject
Virtus.pro’s ban by tournament organizers has been a hot topic in recent months, especially since Valve allowed the organization to be represented at TI 2022. The decision came just days after Virtus.pro announced that Armenian businessman Aram Karamanukyan had been named the organization’s new CEO.
In an exclusive interview with Dexerto, Mr. Karamanukyan said that he, along with a business partner, owns all of Virtus.pro’s assets, including player contracts. “Encouraged” by Valve’s decision, he said that he hoped other tournament organizers, like ESL and BLAST, would follow suit. “I would be very surprised if the decision of the tournament operators contradicted it,” he noted.
However, Virtus.pro’s logo was nowhere to be seen as Outsiders went all the way at the Rio Major in stunning fashion. It would have been the organization’s second CS:GO Major crown following the ESL Major Series One Katowice 2014 title.
On September 22, Dexerto revealed that ESL and BLAST were reviewing the leadership changes in Virtus.pro. Neither tournament organizer has issued a statement on the matter, but it seems that they are inclined to uphold the ban, despite Virtus.pro’s claims that they are no longer associated with ESforce — a company that allegedly has ties to the Russian government.
Dexerto has reached out to Virtus.pro for comment.