Riot Games have announced the cancellation of all CIS tournaments for their esports titles amid the current Russia-Ukraine war, meaning the CIS region will no longer have a representative at League’s Mid-Season Invitational or Valorant’s VCT EMEA Promotions.
The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has had a huge knock-on effect on the world of esports. Russian teams and organizations have faced heavy sanctions over the ongoing crisis, with multiple tournament organizers opting to ban Russian teams and allow their rosters the opportunity to compete under a neutral name.
The latest tournament organizer to place sanctions on Russian teams is Riot Games, which announced on March 25 that it would be suspending CIS leagues in two major esports titles, League of Legends and Valorant.
Knock-on effects for international competition
The Russian regional league in League of Legends, the LCL, had been placed on hold for several weeks prior to the announcement due to the ongoing conflict. The news means that the LCL will not send a representative to the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational.
Riot have not yet confirmed who will fill the spot normally reserved for the LCL representative at MSI.
The same decision has been made for Valorant, with the newly-introduced Valorant Regional League CIS no longer offering a spot at the VCT EMEA promotional tournament. The league has existed since the start of 2022, when Riot introduced regional tournaments similar to the systems they have in place for League.
Riot are yet to confirm what will happen to the format of the VCT EMEA promotional tournament now that one of the regions is unable to compete.
This is not the first time Riot have had to contend with missing regions at their international events. The Vietnam Challenger Series (VCS) did not send any representatives to international events in League of Legends throughout 2021 due to the continuing global health crisis and multiple visa issues.