Riot Games resumed the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) EMEA last Saturday (5 March) with three matches, but held off on Week 4 of the 2022 League of Legends Continental League (LCL) Spring Split as Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine continues to cause a crisis in Eastern Europe.
Both the VCT EMEA and the LCL Spring Split were postponed on 25 February, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine under the guise of a "military operation".
Many players, casters, staff, and fans in the region were affected.
VCT EMEA Resumes
One week after the announcement, Riot announced on the VCT EMEA Twitter page that Week 4 of the tournament will continue with matches between SuperMassive Blaze and BBL Esports, G2 Esports, and Acend, as well as Team Liquid and LDN UTD.
According to the announcement, after this weekend, Riot intends to set up a dual broadcast for the Week 3 and Week 5 matchups so that both games can be viewed simultaneously.
Plans to push through with Week 4 matches are also still being organized.
“We’re aware that some teams are facing uncertainty regarding if they can continue competing in VCT EMEA with their current starting rosters,” Riot's official statement read.
“Our Competitive Operations Teams are in close communications with these teams, and are exploring potential adjustments to the League’s regulations that will help them navigate through the coming weeks.”
Some of the EMEA teams affected have players coming from both Russia and Ukraine, including Natus Vincere (Na'Vi), FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), Gambit Esports, and 2021 VCT champions Acend.
Among the affected players is FunPlus Phoenix player Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov, a Ukrainian player from Kyiv.
ANGE1 has been updating his fans on the status of Kyiv on personal Twitter account since the war broke out, with the most recent one being a retweet of people’s opinion on the peace talks. FPX has been working on finding a stand-in for ANGE1 for their upcoming matches.
Acend's Ukrainian-Spanish player Vlad “Kiles” Shvets, who lives in Spain but has family in Ukraine, admitted on 6 March that “the situation is getting worse every day and it is affecting me much more than I thought.”
Last Saturday (5 March), Acend notably lost on their best map, Bind, where they have had an undefeated streak since last year, but bounced back and took the series against G2 Esports.
Riot also noted that more adjustments may be necessary if the situation changes and that they would be issuing updates as quickly as possible.
LCL Spring Split 2022 still postponed indefinitely
Meanwhile, Riot also announced on Saturday that Week 3 of the LCL Spring Split is still indefinitely postponed. The LCL is the top level of professional League of Legends, organized by Riot Games Russia.
"Dear viewers, after careful consideration, the decision has been made to once again postpone the games of the 4th week of the Continental League. We will announce the new schedule as soon as we can. Stay tuned for further updates on our social media," the tweet read.
All eight participating teams of the LCL this season have players from both Russia and Ukraine.
Other esports organizations have also made a move to postpone tournaments following the Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine-based organiser WePlay Esports also terminated its partnership agreements with companies from both Russia and Belarus, refusing to air the Russian-language broadcast of the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 in favor of a Ukrainian broadcast. The said tournament also kicked off last week without Russian team Virtus.Pro
While other esports tournaments have banned or removed Russian teams and players, Riot has yet to make an announcement regarding its stance on Russian teams participating in VALORANT and LoL events but instead placed its focus on the safety of their players and staff.
Almost a fourth of the VCT EMEA players are Russian and the LCL is a mix of mostly Eastern European players, mainly Russians and Ukrainians.
If you'd like to learn more about how you can help Ukraine during this crisis, here is a list of international organizations you can donate to.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.