We are excited to be back for Intel Extreme Masters: Katowice 2022. We are opening the doors to the Spodek Arena and returning with a live event experience for the first time in almost two years. We’ll furthermore celebrate the 10th anniversary of IEM Katowice as the World’s greatest will compete for $1,000,000 at this ESL Pro Tour Championship.
We are days away from the tournament starting, before that, we’d like to lay out how the tournament will work in relation to COVID-19. With existing global and local regulations in mind, we have implemented precautions to ensure that we are able to bring ourselves, the players, and fans safely back together again in the Spodek Arena.
A look into our toolbox
Over the last 9 months, we’ve gained experience through operating multiple in-person tournaments on LAN during the pandemic. We’ve established strong know-how and developed a range of protocols that have safely navigated teams and players through to tournament conclusion. We continue to review and develop our protocols to ensure that they conform with the current developments related to the pandemic.
The following has been discussed and agreed upon by all teams competing at IEM Katowice.
- Vaccinated players and coaches will not be restricted to official venues (i.e. Accommodation, Studio, Arena), but are asked to exercise their discretion and follow the standard COVID-19 countermeasures if out in public.
- All additional team personnel are required to be fully vaccinated.
- All teams will have access to private spaces and services while in the official hotel to make their stay as comfortable as possible.
- Medical face masks are required within official venues (except while eating, drinking or competing). Hand sanitizers etc. are available throughout all areas.
- Social distancing is to be practiced with limited prolonged contact with other teams and all non-ESL personnel
- Respect and abide by all local Polish / Katowice COVID-19 rules and regulations.
- Prior to the tournament starting, teams were able to submit up to 5 players as substitutes for their roster.
- Teams are able to request an emergency transfer throughout the tournament which will be reviewed by the tournament management team (the emergency transfers are not related to the 5 substitutes a team was able to submit prior).
Protocols & Principles for teams
Outside of the established protocols and best practices, relative to IEM Katowice we will specifically have the below in place.
Ahead of travel to Katowice
- All players, coaches & additional personnel are required to perform a pre-travel PCR test within 24 hours of departure, before traveling to Poland. For cases where teams are already in Poland ahead of time, a PCR test within 24 hours of departure to Katowice and the official tournament hotel is also required.
- Teams have been advised to limit their movements and contacts, ahead of traveling to Poland and take relevant precautions back home. Should a player or coach show symptoms, they should get tested immediately.
While in Katowice
- In Poland, a positive COVID-19 test currently means a mandatory 10-day isolation period (should the authorities change this rule, teams will be informed). Fully vaccinated close contacts do not need to be isolated unless they show symptoms.
- All teams should expect to undertake at least one mandatory PCR test. This will be on top of any other tests a team would need to perform prior to their travel to Poland.
- Should a member of the team show symptoms, a team or ESL representative may request an additional test at any time. A test may also be requested if required for departure back to the respective home country.
During the Play-In & Group Stage
- Should a player test positive after arrival and check-in at the official hotel, but show limited or no symptoms, and they feel fit to continue playing the tournament, teams may request for them to play from isolation out of the official hotel with tournament equipment and under ESL tournament integrity supervision, or take advantage of a substitution or emergency transfer.
Specifically for the Playoffs
- It will not be possible to play out of isolation due to the vast difference in the tournament environment (i.e. spectators, loud cheering, stage audio system, etc). All players will be required to be on stage and any player which may be positive and in isolation shall be replaced with a substitute or emergency transfer.
- We reserve the right to review these decisions based on the situation relating to COVID-19 at the time of the play-off stages.
For all stages of the tournament, participating teams have been incentivized to have backup planning in, to act quickly with short notice.
All of the participating teams and its members received a brief about the protocols and principles in place on February 7th, and were invited to a video conference briefing on February 8th. Teams were furthermore informed that those that do not abide by these principles may be subject to sanctions.
For the Fans
As mentioned at the start, we’re also welcoming fans back to the first on-site audience, doing so in a safe manner is equally important to us. Therefore, let's touch on what will be in place for the fans traveling to Katowice.
- In order to attend the event, you will have to be vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19.
- We do accept the following standards to prove your vaccination or recovery status: EU Digital Covid Certificate & CLEAR Health Pass (US residents only).
- If you are from outside the EU and US, and do not have an official valid EU Digital Covid Certificate or a CLEAR Health Pass, you will not be able to enter the event.
For general information to those traveling to Katowice can be found in the event FAQ.
Hosting live event experiences is fundamental to Counter-Strike and esports - we are genuinely thrilled to be back - especially for such a historic occasion! We hope everything described above gives you insight to the level of preparation we’ve been working on in hope to bring back the fire in what we do.