ESL announced Spirit have been called up as a last-minute replacement for BOOM Esports, who withdrew from participating at ESL Pro League Season 11.
BOOM Esports' withdrew from participating at ESL Pro League and decided to return to Brazil with immediate effect shortly after they landed in Malta, where ESL Pro League season was initially set to be held before ESL decided to transition to an online format amid the coronavirus spread.
The ex-INTZ squad's head coach Alessandro "Apoka" Marcucci explained that the team ran the risk of being quarantined in Malta, as the local government decided to step up measures in an effort to contain the virus that has already infected 18 people in the country and is continuing to spread across Europe.
"Today, Malta has taken some new precautions and we are in danger of possibly being quarantined inside our hotel," said Apoka.
"This means that as a security measure we will be returning to Brazil and we won’t be playing in the ESL Pro League Season 11."
"It's amazing how ESL is handling all of this and trying to make players/staffs and fans have the best experience possible, even with the Virus. I would like to thank ESL in particular to Erik Wendel has been following our entire process for all hours. I’m very sad. We tried."
BOOM Esports, who just recently acquired INTZ's CS:GO roster qualified for ESL Pro League via Americas Minor Championship - Rio 2020: South American Closed Qualifier. There they lost the opening game against Team One, but rallied and put up a commanding run through the Lower Bracket, where BOOM lost only one map in four games. The Brazilian squad defeated W7M Gaming, Imperial e-Sports, avenged their defeat against Team One and eliminated Isurus in the Lower Bracket finals.
Unfortunately, despite their impressive performance, BOOM Esports won't be able to participate in what could be their golden ticket to establish themselves as one of the top CS:GO teams.
BOOM Esports became the third team to withdraw from ESL Pro League Season 11, alongside Renegades and Sharks, who decided to not attend the tournament for the same reason. Although the three teams withdrew, they have not been disqualified from Pro League and will receive invites next season, as stated by ESL.
As BOOM Esports replacement, ESL called in Team Spirit, who have been seeded into Group A alongside Astralis, ENCE, GODSENT, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Vitality. Spirit's first fixture of the season is slated to take place on Monday, March 16, when the Russian squad will face off against ENCE. Spirit will play Ninjas in Pyjamas on Wednesday, Team Vitality on Friday, Astralis on Sunday and will conclude their group stage venture with a clash against GODSENT on Tuesday, March 24.
All games will be played as best-of-three (Bo3), with only the top team earning a spot in Stage 2, while second and third-placed teams advance into the decider round, where the six remaining squads will duke it out for one of three tickets leading to the final stage of the tournament.