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Pandemic restrictions force IEM Global Challenge to online status

The Intel Extreme Masters Global Challenge 2020 will be an online event due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ESL announced Monday.

The event, an Intel Grand Slam awarding tournament with $500,000 in prize money, had planned to bring together the top eight performing teams from IEM New York 2020, IEM Beijing 2020, DreamHack Open Fall 2020 and the ESL world rankings to battle it out in Cologne, Germany.

But due to travel restrictions and shutdowns across Europe from the pandemic, plans for LAN (local area network) tournament had to scuttled.

“With daily increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases across Europe and Germany entering a national lockdown, there are now restrictions in place that prevent us from operating the tournament we had intended,” ESL announced in a statement.

Scheduled for Dec. 15-20, the IEM Global Challenge will now have its competitors in different locations during match play. ESL will support the eight teams in the event by finding “suitable facilities” in Europe to accommodate individual teams.

Heroic and FURIA Esports are the only two teams to have earned spots in the IEM Global Challenge so far, thanks to their October wins in DreamHack Open Fall and IEM New York, respectively.

In-person, LAN-based esports competitions have been sidelined since the arrival of the pandemic. ESL hoped the IEM Global Challenge would be the first high-level Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament to get back to the normal operating procedure.

“As strong as our desire to take Counter-Strike competition back to where it needs to be, is our desire to protect the health, safety and well-being of our players, broadcast talent and ESL crew,” said the ESL in a statement.

–Field Level Media

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