IEM Katowice to be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus concerns

IEM Katowice 2019

February 27 Previous plans to screen IEM Katowice attendees at the Spodek arena have been scrapped and no fans will allowed in to watch the matches.

The playoffs of IEM Katowice will be played in silence this year after the Silesian Governor revoked ESL’s license unexpectedly over coronavirus concerns. The tournament organiser says it respects the decision of the local authorities and will be refunding ticket holders for the inconvenience.

The news has come as a shock to fans, especially since Poland currently has no confirmed cases of the virus. Originally, ESL planned to hire extra medical staff for the event, so that each and every fan could be screened for the virus before entering the Spodek arena. More first aiders were going to be put on patrol, and hygiene stations were going to be set up around the arena.

However, this ruling means that the playoffs, which start tomorrow, the semi-finals, and the finals will all be played behind closed doors and only available to watch online.

“At 19:54 CET we were informed by the Silesian Voivodeship that our mass event license for IEM Katowice was revoked,” ESL’s statement says. “Until that moment we had a legally binding decision allowing us to organize the event, which was reconfirmed multiple times over the last few days. The last time the decision was confirmed was several hours ago.

“The Governor of Silesian (Silesian Voivode) Jaroslaw Wieczorek issued a decision to remove their approval regarding ESL hosting a mass event in Katowice, Poland. Due to this development, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 will not have any audience on-site.

“ESL respects this decision from the local authorities and is currently working on reaching out to all ticket holders, guests, and media. Tickets will be fully refunded. The tournament will be conducted and broadcasted as planned, but without any additional visitors on-site. We are deeply sorry for all fans and players.”

The coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people in the last few weeks, killing nearly 3,000 people.