Russia and Belarus are removed as eligible countries from Apex Legends esports.
EA announced that Russia and Belarus are no longer eligible countries in both the Apex Legends Global Series and the Fifa 22 Global Series. This affects teams such as Gambit, Zeta and FruturePerfect who can no longer compete in the ALGS.
The announcement, which follows several similar decisions across the industry, means that players in both countries face uncertainty as to their competitive future.
EA: "We have made the decision to remove Russia and Belarus as eligible countries in our esports programmes"
EA's statement read as follows:
"We continue to be shocked at the conflict that is unfolding in Ukraine and join so many voices around the world in calling for peace and an end to the invasion. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine."
"We've made the decision to remove Russia and Belarus as eligible countries in our esports programmes. Effective immediately, players and teams in Russia and Belarus are ineligible to participate in the Apex Legends Global Series and the EA SPORTS FIFA 22 Global Series."
Massive implications for the ALGS
This decision will have monumental impact on ALGS in the EMEA region and as a whole. Russia is the most represented country in the region, and several key teams and star players are based in Russia. Teams like Gambit, Frutureperfect and Zeta will no longer be a part of ALGS.
Clarification is now needed on if players can relocate to other countries to compete. ALGS EMEA Pro League is expected to resume on March 23rd, meaning affected players have just one week to relocate. If, that is allowed by EA.
Casual players essentially banned
In particular, casual players who were hoping to qualify out of the Challenger Circuit can no longer compete.
Professional players, who make a living through Apex, can both afford and justify to relocate if they wish. However, this is not the same for budding pros in the Challenger Circuit. The Challenger Circuit does not pay any prize money at all, even if you place 1st. This could drastically affect the amount of teams in the Challenger Circuit.
Players at both levels will be hoping for more clarity and information on this announcement and an updated schedule in due course.
This announcement follows similar steps by several tournament organizers in other titles as well. Today, Ubisoft-owned Rainbow Six Siege also announced similar steps, suspending all official competitions in Russia.