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BGMI ban: Esports Premier League tournament suspended until further notice

BGMI ban: Esports Premier League tournament suspended until further notice
Photo Credit: ESPL
1 Aug, 2022
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The Esports Premier League (ESPL), an esports tournament in India based on Krafton’s Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) battle royale mobile video game, has been suspended. Announced by organisers earlier today, the suspension of the second season of the tournament comes days after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) reportedly banned BGMI from being downloaded in India, and the game was subsequently removed from both the Google Play Store and Apple’s iOS App Store. 

We are constrained to put ESPL Season 2 on hold, in light of the government’s directions and the prevailing circumstances. This is an unfortunate situation for all esports enthusiasts at this stage of the tournament. However, upon closure of the matter favourably, we intend to renew the ESPL from the stage where we are leaving it now, which means that the selected finalist teams will be invited again to take the tournament forward for the Finals. 

The ESPL Season 2 esports tournament offered a collective prize pool of ₹1 crore, and is a franchise-format gaming tournament in which sponsors can back esports teams that took part in an initial selection round segment, to qualify for the main tournament. The suspension of the tournament has occurred at its last 16 stage, and this final stage of the tournament was expected to have begun today, August 1. 

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However, in the late hours of Thursday, July 28, the central government reportedly issued a ban on BGMI. Reports claimed that the ban was issued by citing Section 69A of the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000, which empowers the government of India to ban entities in light of national security. 

While an official statement from a government spokesperson is yet to be issued, a Krafton spokesperson has stated that the company is in process of understanding how the ban was issued on BGMI, and a more elaborate explanation behind the ban could be issued, “soon”. 

Talking to Mint, experts said that the ban on BGMI may not have as big an impact as when PUBG Mobile was banned. However, the suspension is likely to push back sponsors and instill uncertainty in the nascent competitive esports industry of India.  

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