Valorant

VCT EMEA to Resume Stage 1 Challengers Play After Pause in Wake of Ukraine Invasion

"VCT EMEA returns this weekend with 3 matches."
"VCT EMEA returns this weekend with 3 matches." / Image courtesy of Riot Games

Following a nearly two week break period amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) 2022 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Stage 1 Challengers matches are set to resume this weekend.

Three matches are on the newly-announced schedule by Riot Games, along with a confirmed talent and observer lineup.

VCT EMEA to Resume Stage 1 Challengers Play After Pause in Wake of Ukraine Invasion

The rescheduled VCT EMEA Stage 1 Challengers Week 4 matches will kick off on Saturday, March 5, with SuperMassive Blaze vs. BBL Esports at 10 a.m. ET.

Those looking to catch the action live can do so through the league's usual avenues of streaming: the Valorant Twitch channel and VCT YouTube channel.

VCT EMEA Stage 1 Challengers Week 4 Saturday Schedule (March 5)

  • 10 a.m. ET: SuperMassive Blaze vs. BBL Esports
  • 1 p.m. ET: G2 Esports vs. Acend

VCT EMEA Stage 1 Challengers Week 4 Sunday Schedule (March 6)

  • 11 a.m. ET: LDN UTD vs. Team Liquid

"After this weekend," Riot Games said in a statement, "our current plan is to create a dual broadcast that will see Week 3 games played concurrently with the previously scheduled Week 5 matches. We are also building a plan to schedule the postponed matches from Week 4."

In addition to these three matches, six have been re-scheduled for the weekend of March 12.

Of the 12 teams originally competing in the event, six teams — Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix, Gambit Esports, Guild Esports, LDN UTD and Natus Vincere — have players from Russia, Ukraine, Poland and/or Belarus, not to mention to the talent and staff that are directly or indirectly impacted by the ongoing geopolitical situation as well.

In recent days, the CS:GO scene has seen Russian-based teams uninvited all upcoming BLAST Premier events as well as banned from the ESL Pro League Season 15.

Riot has yet to make an official announcement regarding its stance on Russian teams participating in VCT events but does have Gambit slated to make its return on March 11 against LDN UTD.

"We’re aware that some teams are facing uncertainty regarding if they can continue competing in VCT EMEA with their current starting rosters," Riot Games said in a statement. "Our Competitive Operations Teams are in close communications with these teams, and are exploring potential adjustments to the League’s regulations that will help them navigate through the coming weeks. We will provide updates as soon as we can, but please be aware that further adjustments may be necessary if the situation changes."