PGL has prohibited Gambit and Virtus Pro, two esports organizations linked with the Russian government, to display their brand in the upcoming Antwerp CS:GO Major amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24.
The decision to ban Gambit and VP comes days before the start of the PGL Antwerp Major European Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament, which will decide which teams hailing from Europe qualify for the Major. The players of Gambit and VP, though, are allowed to compete in the Major cycle as long as they agree to play under neutral names, similarly to what has been done in ESL Pro League season 15.
Gambit is owned by MTS, one of the largest telecoms network in Russia, and one of its shareholders is the billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov. VP, on the other hand, is run by the Russian state-run insurance company Sogaz, which has been sanctioned by the European Union (EU) since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Now that PGL and Valve have banned the Gambit and VP organizations from attending the Major cycle, it’s up to them to allow or forbid their players to compete in the Major cycle with a neutral name. Gambit and VP let their CS:GO rosters play under the tags Players and Outsiders, respectively, at ESL Pro League season 15.
Virtus Pro are one of the 16 teams in PGL Antwerp Major Europe RMR A, while Gambit are attending the Europe RMR B. The former will kick off on April 17 and the latter will begin on April 21.