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Russian Esports Federation Refuses to Compete Under Neutral Flag

Posted : 15 May 2024

The Russian Esports Federation (RESF) has rejected the International Esports Federation’s (IESF) directive to have its representatives compete under a neutral flag at the upcoming IESF World Championships, insisting on retaining its national symbols. This decision has resulted in a deadlock between the two federations, as the IESF remains firm on its stance against displaying Russian symbols at its events.


The dispute stems from a series of developments dating back to 2022, with the IESF initially banning Russian athletes from participating in its events in April of that year. Although these restrictions were lifted in the past year, tensions persisted, leading to the recent ruling requiring Russian players to compete neutrally. The IESF cited concerns over the RESF's establishment of offices in territories recognized as Ukrainian, prompting a secret vote that resulted in the decision to suspend the RESF's good standing.


In response, the RESF expressed frustration over the lack of clarity and communication regarding the decision, stating that it received multiple interpretations of the ruling instead of the original text. Despite attempts to negotiate, including the presentation of a participation agreement with contentious clauses, the RESF refused to comply with the requirement to compete under a neutral flag. Consequently, the federation was notified of its exclusion from the World Championship, a decision upheld by the IESF Secretariat despite appeals from the RESF.


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