Gambit Esports released a statement on Monday explaining that their VALORANT team will compete as an independent squad in the VALORANT Champions tour. The Gambit players said they will play under the name MC3, with stands for Masters 3 Champions, in the next Europe, Middle East and Africa VCT matches.
— Gambit Esports (@GambitEsports) March 14, 2022
“During this time, esports can continue to serve fans from many different countries and cultures — and we sincerely wish for tournaments to continue and players to focus on competition and sportsmanship,” Gambit said in a statement. “We’ve therefore taken the decision to empower out players, [Igor “Redgar” Vlasov], [Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov], [Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov], [Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov] and [Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin], to take part in the upcoming VCT Competition as an independent team.”
The former Gambit Esports squad has not played an official match in EMEA VCT since Feb. 18, a loss to FunPlus Phoenix. This move is one among many that teams with organizations or players from Russia and Ukraine have had to make to continue competition in esports. VCT EMEA was delayed for a week at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Natus Vincere, a Ukrainian-based organization with Russian players, also did not participate in the first weekend of matches back after the delay.
FPX player Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov, who is Ukrainian and was living in the country at the start of the conflict, has been unable to play with the team. FPX have used a substitute in their most recent matches.
Virtus.pro, an organization with ties to the Russian government, like Gambit, has also allowed their players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to compete as an independent team during ESL Pro League Season 15. Unlike with Gambit, ESL made a statement beforehand blocking teams with ties to the Russian government from participating and gave the organizations the option to send their teams as independent. Riot Games itself has not released any sweeping statements about Russian esports organizations competing in its competitions.
Riot also released the rest of the VCT EMEA schedule now that the Gambit players are back in the competition.
— VALORANT Champions Tour EMEA (@valesports_emea) March 14, 2022
Fans can see the conclusion of the VCT EMEA group stage starting on Wednesday.