The LEC is the latest league to be struck with COVID concerns. Thursday, the press and fans were barred from attending League of Legends’ premier European broadcast, and now, the league has decided to postpone all matches until further notice.
The reason is that they suspect a staffer has come into contact with someone that has been infected with the coronavirus. No players or staff currently are diagnosed with the disease.
“In light of the uncertainty during the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic situation and in an abundance of caution, we’ve decide to err on the side of player and staff safety and suspend the LEC Spring Season until further notice.”
Coronavirus continues to hit esports, as no fewer then twenty events have been effected by the pandemic in some way. In League of Legends alone, the LPL has only just resumed play online, with the LCK expected to follow suit. The LCS has yet to suspend play, but did bar audiences and press from attending matches. Riot is said to be working with press for remote access to the LCS at present.
This announcement was sudden, as the LEC was set to kick off games for the day on Friday. Fans were instead met with Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere informing fans of the decision before the stream was cut off from Riot’s end.
There has been no further word from Riot on further actions that will be taken, but given that other regions have begun online play, this is a safe bet that it will be attempted to be replicated here. As it is, Origen was already playing their matches from Copenhagen rather than the Cologne studio.
A wide swath of esports events have delayed their matches from March and April and are expected to continue to do so as the month progresses and more cases are identified. The current COVID-19 infection rate stands at over 140,000 and the death toll at 5,123.