Danish minister contemplates prohibiting Russians from great Counter-Strike event

(MENAFN) Danish Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt has ignited controversy by advocating for the exclusion of Russian esports athletes from the ongoing Counter-Strike 2 competition in Copenhagen, citing concerns over Russia's military aggression in Ukraine. In an interview with the newspaper Berlingske, Engel-Schmidt emphasized that as long as Russia continues its "illegal war of aggression" in Ukraine, Russian athletes should not be permitted to participate in international sports, including esports.

The Counter-Strike 2 competition, organized by Romanian esports company PGL, is currently underway in Copenhagen and is scheduled to continue until March 31, with the final set to take place in the city's Royal Arena. According to reports, 18 Russian players from five different teams are participating in the event.

Expressing his stance on the matter, Engel-Schmidt urged the organizers of the event to reconsider allowing Russian participation, even though the event is organized by a Romanian company. Additionally, he called on the Royal Arena to exercise greater scrutiny regarding the events it hosts.

One of the teams participating in the competition is Team Spirit, which comprises both Russian and Ukrainian players. Notably, the team's headquarters relocated from Moscow to Belgrade, Serbia, following Russia's military intervention in Ukraine in February 2022.

Engel-Schmidt's call for the exclusion of Russian esports athletes comes amidst ongoing international sanctions imposed on Russia following its military actions in Ukraine. While Russia has been banned from several international sports events since February 2022, individual athletes from the country have been permitted to participate in some cases.

In a related development, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced that up to 55 "individual neutral athletes" from Russia will be allowed to compete in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. However, they will be barred from participating in the opening ceremony, reflecting the ongoing complexities surrounding Russian participation in international sporting events amidst geopolitical tensions.



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