Russian esports organisation Gambit Esports has said it will allow its Valorant players to compete as an “independent team”.
Gambit Esports made the announcement on Twitter earlier today (March 14), saying it will allow its players to compete in the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) competition as an independent team of players outside of the organisation (via The Loadout).
Announcements like this have been made since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, forcing many to flee the country and seek asylum in western neighbouring countries. Last week (March 11) Gambit announced that it would allow its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players to participate in a tournament under a “neutral name” after Gambit itself was forbidden to participate.
Riot Games has currently instituted no such bans regarding Valorant.
— Gambit Esports (@GambitEsports) March 14, 2022
“This continues to be a very difficult time for everyone, not least for all of us with family and friends living in Ukraine,” wrote Gambit.
“During this time, esports can continue to serve fans from many different countries and cultures – and we sincerely wish for tournaments to continue and players to focus on competition and sportsmanship.
“We’ve therefore taken the decision to empower our players […] to take part in the upcoming VCT Competition as an independent team.”
Gambit’s decision follows the news that Ukrainian esports team Navi will not be leaving its home country, which came several weeks after an open letter plea from Ukraine’s vice prime minister to the whole games industry.
Mykhailo Fedorov asked the entire industry to “temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russia and Belarus.”
Many organisations within the games industry appear to have heard this message and have been announcing they are no longer doing business with Russia.
In other news, Twitch has acknowledged the recent anti-LGBTQ+ hate raids and said it is taking legal action against them.