The Electronic Sports League (ESL) has announced that the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) event in Melbourne and the ESL One tournament in Cologne won’t be played as live events in 2020 due to Australian and German regulations that prohibit any large gatherings.
ESL One: Cologne was scheduled to start on July 23 at the Lanxess-Arena, but those plans were scuppered with Germany’s announcement that lockdown measures would remain in place until the end of August at least. Instead, the CS:GO event will be played behind closed doors during the final weeks of the European summer.
“In the spirit of esports and to keep the competition for players going, this summer’s ESL Pro Tour Masters Championship in Cologne will be transformed into a broadcasted tournament without a live audience on 21-30 August,” read the announcement.
While some parts of Australia could begin easing restrictions in the next few weeks, the state government of Victoria has taken a conservative stance and appears unlikely to budge anytime soon. As such, IEM Melbourne will not take place until August next year.
“IEM Melbourne will no longer take place in 2020, and instead has been rescheduled to 2021. The decision has been reached in light of the current global health situation, and is in line with local restrictions on gatherings,” said the ESL statement.
“We will be heading to Rod Laver Arena at the 2021 edition of the Melbourne Esports Open, which will take place over the weekend of August 21-22, 2021.”
The ESL also declared that fans who have already bought their tickets will be able to use them for next year’s editions. If a ticketholder cannot attend the rescheduled event, they can claim a full refund by the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA) and various tournament organisers are currently in talks about changing the dates of the summer and winter player breaks. The summer break was originally scheduled for June 29 to July 31, but it could be shifted to July 15 until August 15 now that ESL One: Cologne has been moved.