It has just recently come to light that Ilya ‘Perfecto’ Zalutskiy has tested positive for COVID-19 after a few days of not feeling particularly well.

Thirty minutes prior to the match that was scheduled today that should have pitted forZe (#26) versus Natus Vincere (#3), forZe was contacted and informed that the match is being rescheduled based on the announcement of the illness; NaVi would have had to sub someone in (likely a coach) if the match went forward, and some individuals have noted that ESL may be playing favorites in how they are treating Natus Vincere versus other teams that have had illnesses suddenly crop up.

Specifically, Andrey ‘Jerry’ Mekfryakov from forZe took to Twitter to vent his frustrations that the match has been rescheduled with very little notice, effectively wasting a large portion of the day for the Russian team forZe while they have not been as kind to other teams in the past; specifically, teams that are ranked lower than the top ten can’t count on getting the preferential treatment.

To a certain extent, it makes sense: tournament organizers want to cater to the teams that are bringing in large crowds and are likely to put forth a good show.

Considering that ESL is arguably the biggest tournament organizer within Counter-Strike and also the single greatest opportunity for many teams to compete and earn points towards Majors and rankings, it becomes a bit murkier to discern whether or not there is a valid complaint.

Looking back to figure out how accurate this is, the allegation that ESL offers favors to higher ranking teams does seem to hold true.

Team One wasn’t consulted on match vetos while the admins were allegedly hanging out with mousesports, and Team One somehow simply forfeited their veto opportunity because an admin never arrived. Considering map strength offers a strategic opportunity for teams that specialize in this or that, and the match was lost before it had begun.

Virtus.Pro was scheduled to play against K23; but they were locked in another match (notably from a different tournament organizer) that had run longer than expected, and were immediately handed a first match forfeit as they weren’t there on time. This is largely believed to be due to VP playing in another TO rather than adherence to a ruleset.

Perhaps most damning is when North had to substitute a player in for Kjaerbye after he noted stomach pains and illness; their coach was forced to step in.

When Natus Vincere reported a sick player, the entire match is indefinitely canceled; NaVi should have been forced to play the match using their substitutes as is the norm. That they didn’t, offers credence towards the current allegation if nothing else.