Image Courtesy: IESF

Russian Esports Federation withdraws from IESF 2024

The move comes amidst geopolitical tensions between Russia & Ukraine

In a recent development, the Russian Esports Federation (RESF) has officially withdrawn from IESF 2024. The decision follows a series of sanctions that have barred Russian players from competing under their national flag, forcing them instead to play under a neutral banner.

The imposition of these sanctions has deepened the ongoing rift between RESF and the Ukrainian Esports Federation (UESF). Tensions between the two bodies have been simmering for some time, with UESF previously petitioning for the complete expulsion of RESF, a move that ultimately failed.

The sanctions stem from an investigation triggered by a complaint from the UESF. The complaint alleged that RESF had established offices in Ukrainian territories that are currently under illegal occupation by Russia. This action led to RESF being temporarily suspended in January 2024 for violating Article E-31 (i) of the IESF Statute, which mandates all federations to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other members.

Though the initial suspension was lifted after a reinvestigation, Russian athletes have since been prohibited from displaying their national symbols in IESF events. The decision to impose a neutral banner was seen as a compromise to allow individual athletes to compete while addressing the breach of international regulations.

The IESF's ruling was met with strong opposition from RESF. In a statement, the Russian federation expressed its discontent, emphasizing the difficulty of competing without national identity and suggesting that the sanctions were politically motivated. This led to their ultimate decision to withdraw from the IESF 2024 altogether.

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