Russian esports teams banned from Apex Legends, FIFA, and Rainbow Six Siege pro leagues

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(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)
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Electronic Arts has announced that, because of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, esports players and teams based in Russia and Belarus will no longer be allowed to compete in Apex Legends and FIFA 22 pro leagues.

"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," EA tweeted. "We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

"We have made the decision to remove Russia and Belarus as eligible countries in our esports programs. Effectively 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."

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EA's decision to ban Russia and Belarus from its pro leagues comes two weeks after ESL suspended Russian teams (opens in new tab) Virtus.pro and Gambit from ESL Pro League season 15. Smaller pro league operators Blast (opens in new tab) and Elisa (opens in new tab) have also imposed bans on Russian-based organizations. 

Following the example of the Olympics, however, ESL said it would allow Russian teams and players to take part in its competitions using "neutral" names, with no team logos or national colors—a compromise that Virtus.pro eventually accepted (opens in new tab)

Ubisoft made a similar offer in a Rainbow Six Siege pro league announcement posted today.

"In light of the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, all official competitions on our games portfolio in Russia, such as the Russian Major League on Rainbow Six Siege are suspended," it tweeted. "Russian players will still be able to compete in regional and international competitions if they choose to, but will be required to compete under a neutral banner, and have accepted to do so."

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 EA did not say whether it would make similar allowances for its Global Series players—I've reached out to ask and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.