ESL FACEIT Group is still conducting the review of ownership changes in Virtus.pro, which happened in September 2022, and might make a statement on the situation when it will be done. CS:GO remains the only major esport title where the now Armenian club is present but not able to represent its name or flag. We asked ESL to comment on the matter.
We have been reviewing the recent changes in the structure and ownership of Virtus.pro and are currently in the process of finalizing this review. If any announcements come out of this, then these will be made in due course.
The tournament organizer is in an interesting position. ESL currently does not allow Virtus.pro to compete under its name on its events in CS:GO, just like BLAST does. But it also holds Dota 2 events, including the second Major of the season in April-May of 2023.
And here is the catch — Valve, who is developing both games, has allowed VP to get their name back and to compete under it in DPC circuit, which includes the Majors, after the change of ownership. So it remains to be seen what policy will be chosen in case VP will qualify, and how consistent it will be over different esports titles.
Recently, Ubisoft allowed VP to represent their name in Rainbow Six Siege. Virtus.pro CEO Nikolay Petrossian claimed that it became possible due to "multiple steps over the past year to be able to comply and compete under the Virtus.pro banner, having done a great job documenting every step we took". Petrossian previously worked as CEO of ESforce, esports holding that owned VP before the sale, and took his current role in December 2022.
In September, Virtus.pro relocated to Armenia and presumably cut all ties with Russian state-sponsored entities. After that, Dota 2 operators allowed VP to use their original brand, and other titles followed soon. However, there were doubts that the organization had left Russia entirely.