Riot Games postpones pro VALORANT and LoL in Eastern Europe over Ukraine invasion

Riot indefinitely postpones VCT EMEA 2022 and LCL Spring 2022 (Photo: Riot Games)
Riot indefinitely postpones VCT EMEA 2022 and LCL Spring 2022 (Photo: Riot Games)

Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends (LoL) and VALORANT, has shuttered all esports competitions for both games in areas affected by the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Riot announced the indefinite postponement of Week 3 of the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) EMEA and the 2022 LoL Continental League (LCL) Spring Season last Friday (25 February), a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine under the guise of a "military operation."

The LoL European Championship (LEC) has also decided to pull out the Russian language broadcast from its games on the seventh week of the LEC Spring Split.

VCT EMEA postponed indefinitely

“After careful consideration, we have decided to postpone VCT EMEA Week 3 games. Our community’s welfare is integral to us and at this time, our number one priority is to support the players, casters, staff, and fans affected by the escalating crisis in Ukraine,” said the announcement from the official VCT EMEA Twitter account.

Several players, casters, and staff are affected by the ongoing conflict, especially since players in the region typically play from their home country.

Some of the EMEA teams affected notably have players coming from both Russia and Ukraine, including Natus Vincere (Na'Vi), FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), Gambit Esports, and 2021 VCT champions Acend.

“Our community’s welfare is integral to us and at this time, our number one priority is to support the players, casters, staff, and fans affected by the escalating crisis in Ukraine,” the tweet added.

FunPlus Phoenix player Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov, a Ukrainian player from Kyiv, tweeted on Thursday (24 February) that “most Ukrainians including me woke up because of explosions”.

In a report first confirmed by Dexerto on Monday (28 February), FPX has been seeking a stand-in for ANGE1, having practiced with David “Davidp” Prins (formerly G2 Esports) and Kamil “baddyG” Graniczka in scrims since the FPX captain is unavailable.

Acend Ukrainian-Spanish player Vlad “Kiles” Shvets also tweeted about the matter, initially stating that he and his family were both safe.

“It seems absurd to me that we come to this in our era, what a disaster everything,” he said on Twitter.

On Saturday (26 February) he tweeted that his family had to run to the basements because of the sirens and shooting. Kiles lives in Spain but has family in Ukraine.

Anna Pototska, VALORANT influencer manager at Riot Games for Northern Europe, has also urged people on Twitter to get educated about the war. Pototska is a Ukrainian living in the United Kingdom.

The VCT EMEA will be indefinitely postponed and had asked fans to stay tuned on social media for more updates.

On Tuesday (1 March), VCT EMEA confirmed that they were “in conversations with teams about their players’ well-being and individual situations, plus securing their input on the best way to move forward.”

Na'Vi also announced on Tuesday (1 March) that they had severed ties with Russian esports company ESforce Holding, stating that the Russian company “publicly denies the horror that is now happening in Ukraine”., the Russian esports org owned by ESforce, also did not feature in the GAMER GALAXY Dota 2 Invitational in Dubai despite having been initially invited.

LCL Spring 2022 postponed indefinitely, Russian broadcast removed from LEC

Shortly following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, LoL Esports also decided to indefinitely postpone Week 3 of the 2022 League of Legends Continental League Spring tournament. The LCL is the top level of professional League, organized by Riot Games Russia.

All eight participating teams of the LCL this season have players from both Russia and Ukraine.

"After careful consideration, the decision has been made to postpone the games of the 3rd week of the Continental League. We will announce the new schedule as soon as we can. In the meantime, stay tuned for further updates on our social networks,” the tweet said.

LoL Esports also announced that the Russian Broadcast of the LEC Spring Split would not be aired as well.

G2 Arctic player Oleksandr “Efias” Yankovich, an Italian resident with Ukrainian citizenship, expressed his thoughts on the war, saying that “humanity didn’t do that big of a progress than I thought, sad”.

Russian League of Legends pro Nikolay "Zanzarah" Akatov, from Astralis, shared on Twitter that he had received some hate on social media, but has made a stand on the issue at hand.

The Astralis jungler has also posted links on Twitter on how to support Ukraine through donating to various organizations that support the Ukrainians at war.

Netherlands-based Esports organization Team Liquid's CEO Victor "Nazgul" Goossens announced that the organization will be housing any stranded players because of the war, regardless of what team they play for.

Nazgul also confirmed that a non-Liquid esports player had already been housed in the apartments.

Other esports organizations have also made a move to postpone tournaments following the Russia-Ukraine war. Dota 2 developer Valve Software also postponed the Dota Pro Circuit Spring Tour for Eastern Europe.

Ukraine-based organiser WePlay Esports also terminated its partnership agreements with companies from both Russia and Belarus, and would not broadcast the Russian-language broadcast of the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022, and will instead broadcast in Ukrainian.

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.

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