Publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has announced its decision to remove Russia and Belarus as eligible countries in its esports programs.
EA has detailed that Russian and Belarussian players and teams will be ineligible to participate in the Apex Legends Global Series and the EA SPORTS FIFA 22 Global Series. The announcement, released yesterday, states that the ban will apply effective immediately.
RELATED: ESL Pro League suspends teams with ties to Russian government
Electronic Arts’ statement read: “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. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”
The announcement follows EA’s previous decision to stop all of its games and content sales in Russia and Belarus. The publisher is also reportedly continually reviewing the steps it can take.
Moreover, in the light of the situation in Ukraine, Ubisoft has also issued its stance, suspending all official competitions in its Russian portfolio, including the Russian Rainbow Six Siege Major League.
According to the announcement, Russian players will still be able to compete in Ubisoft’s regional and international competitions if they choose to, but will be required to compete under a neutral banner. Some players have already reportedly agreed to do so.
RELATED: WePlay Holding ends ties with Russian, Belarusian companies
In a reaction to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, EA and Ubisoft join numerous esports organisers in suspending Russia-based operations and banning Russian athletes from representing the country at events.
This includes the likes of ESL and BLAST Premier banning Russian-based teams from its events. Moreover, Fortnite Competitive banned Russian players from receiving cash prizes.