ESL Gaming moved closer to a return of in-person esports competition, announcing in tandem with the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association a "Return to LAN" plan on Thursday.
Events moved strictly online last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that could change later this year based on the deal struck between the event organizer and the players union.
According to a tweet from the CSPPA, the regulations cover:
--Testing and other measures before arrival at the event
--Travel and arrival at accommodation
--Creation of a controlled environment among participants, staff and others
--Ongoing COVID-19 testing procedures during stay
--Prepared actions in case of positive tests
--Prepared measures in order to ensure that players can return home safely
The plan to return to LAN (local area network) action is "pending local regulation and guidelines."
CSPPA chief executive officer Mads Oland said in a statement, "It is paramount for the CSPPA to protect the health and safety of our members. The players are eager to play LAN events again, but only if it can be done in a safe and responsible manner. It is our hope that with the guidance of these protocols, the players will be able to compete on LAN in early 2021."
ESL senior vice president of product Urich Schulz added in a statement, "Through this difficult year, one thing has always remained the priority for everyone at ESL and that is the safety and wellbeing of our community. We are of course excited at the prospect of a return to LAN tournaments, but this will only happen when we can be sure that the health of players, coaches, staff and the community at large is safeguarded. This protocol is a big step in the right direction for edging closer to a return of LAN tournaments."
On Wednesday, ESL Gaming announced that it plans to resume LAN competition for ESL and DreamHack tournaments for most events in 2021, though live audiences probably won't return until late in the year.
The ESL Pro Tour CS:GO is set to kick off Feb. 16-18 with the IEM Katowice 2021 in Poland, a 24-team, $1 million tournament.
According to The Esports Observer, ESL's next live event in the United States would be the DreamHack Atlanta in November.
--Field Level Media