Ukrainian esports tournament organiser and production company WePlay has announced that the sixth season of its WePlay Academy League has been postponed indefinitely due to Russia’s widespread recent strikes on Ukraine.
WePlay said it was forced to postpone the League because a number of cities in Ukraine had been struck by missiles, resulting in reports of power cuts and numerous casualties.
The WePlay Academy League is a CS:GO tournament in which academy teams of major esports organisations routinely participate. The last edition of the tournament took place from July to August 2022, with a $100,000 (£90,000) prize pool.
The tournament saw academy teams from Astralis, BIG, ENCE, Fnatic, FURIA, MOUZ, Na’Vi, OG, Team Spirit, NiP, Eternal Fire and 00Nation. The latest addition of the tournament saw the inclusion of MIBR and Copenhagen Flames rosters, bringing the total number of competing teams to 14.
Major Ukrainian cities, including Lviv, Karkiv, Dnipro and the capital Kyiv, were hit by widespread Russian strikes on Monday. At least 11 people have been killed, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the strikes were retaliation for an attack on a Russia-Crimea bridge on Saturday.
In a statement shared on Twitter, WePlay said: “We are forced to postpone the start of WAL Season 6. Our main value is our employees’ safety, and we can not expose them to additional risk.”
The sixth season of the Academy League was supposed to start today, October 10th, but due to the attacks WePlay was unable to secure the infrastructure needed to safely organise the tournament.
WePlay was one of the first companies that severed ties to Russian brands after the start of the conflict in the country in February 2022. However, the company managed to continue operations and even hosted the fifth season of the Academy League despite the conflict taking place in the country.
WePlay recently partnered with GRID Esports, and has also secured a partnership with OTK Media to provide production facilities to OTK.
“Our team spent weeks in preparation for this day, and we were sure that nothing could stop us,” the statement read. “However, today our entire country woke up to a massive missile attack by the Russian federation. Sirens and explosions are heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro and a dozen other cities in Ukraine.”