Nick J. February 27, 2020
The permit for Intel ExtremeMasters and ESL to hold a "mass event" for the IEM XIV World Championship has been revoked by the Polish government just a day before the event was to start its playoff matchups.
According to ESL, officials cited health and safety concerns over what would be a large, international gathering. Though it was not explicitly stated by ESL, this likely stems from the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
The teams will still play out the remainder of IEM Katowice, only inside of a studio in lieu of the thousands that cheer for the CSGO favorite every year. FOr the first time, IEM Katowice will not sell out the Spodek Arena.
The spread of the virus across the globe has alarmed governments the world over, which has resulted in a number of events being impacted or outright canceled.
An official blog post from the tournament organizer stated that it will reach out to all those who purchased tickets. IEM plans to refund tickets for what was of the most anticipated Counter-Strike: Global Offensive events of the year.
"The Governor of Silesian (Silesian Voivode) Jarosław Wieczorek issued a decision to remove their approval regarding ESL hosting a mass event in Katowice, Poland. Due to this development, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 will not have any audience on-site. This means both the Spodek-Arena audience as well as IEM Expo," the release stated.
Governments have confirmed 83.410cases of the infection around the world. As of this writing, there were no confirmed cases reported in Poland. To date, the virus has killed over 2,800 people across the globe.
A number of cases have been detected throughout Europe however, and officials are undoubtedly looking to avoid a mass outbreak.
The gaming industry has taken a hard hit from the spread of the coronavirus, with events such as PAX East and GDC 2020 have seen a number of prominent exhibitors suddenly withdraw.
Esports has taken a particularly hard hit. A number of notable events have been canceled or delayed with League of Legends' 2020 Mid-Season Invitational being postponed due to coronavirus concerns and numerous Overwatch events in China and South Korea being scrapped.
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