Russian team Virtus.pro has officially pulled out of the upcoming IEM Dallas, due to a number of its roster encountering visa issues ahead of the event.
Fnatic to replace Virtus.pro at IEM Dallas
The news comes via Virtus.pro's official Twitter account, in which the organisation revealed that some of the players on their roster were unable to obtain visas, despite assistance from the ESL.
Virtus.pro stated that they felt it would be "inappropriate" to attend such a large-scale tournament with stand-in players, and as such have decided to pull out of the tournament. The organisation did not reveal which of its players had been unable to obtain visas.
As per ESL rules, if a team withdraws from the tournament after the qualifier stage and before the replacement deadline, their spot will go to the next available team in the bracket. And since Fnatic finished the closed qualifier in fourth place - behind OG, Cloud9 and Astralis (who have all already been invited to Dallas), Virtus.pro's spot has gone to the team led by William "mezii" Merriman.
Had Virtus.pro pulled out before the start of the closed qualifier, then the next available team from the ESL World Ranking would have been invited to the tournament.
This is in fact the second time a team has pulled out of IEM Dallas - although we don't know who the first team to do so was. However, it was announced earlier this week that OG has been invited to IEM Dallas, after an unnamed team pulled out of the event.
Given that OG's attendance at Dallas came at such short notice, Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov will be unable to compete alongside his teammates, as he was scheduled to take some time off after the BLAST.tv Paris Major. Therefore, Iulian "regali" Harjău will be stepping in as the team's substitute AWPer.
IEM Dallas 2023 is due to take place from May 29 to June 4, and will see some of the biggest names in Counter-Strike fighting it out for their share of the $250,000 prize pool. You'll be able to watch IEM Dallas live, as well as everything else in Counter-Strike, via our upcoming CS:GO match schedule - just remember to sign up before jumping in!