The Intel Extreme Masters event in Guangzhou, China has been canceled due to the growing political unrest in the country. The event was to host two tournaments, one for League of Legends and one for StarCraft II, but both share the same fate as the event that hosts them, with no plans to reschedule. Teams and players that had qualified for the tournament and already booked travel will receive compensation.
Michał Blicharz, the director of pro gaming for the event, issued the following statement:
"We were all looking forward to going to China yet again as last year's tournament in Guangzhou, at the same venue, was a great success for us. Fans from all over the world surely remember Greg "IdrA" Fields' successful run through the tournament as well as the first ever encounter between Western League of Legends teams and their Chinese counterparts.
We are terribly sorry to disappoint esports fans that were expecting to enjoy the event, especially all Chinese esports fans. Unfortunately, the circumstances that forced the cancellation upon us were entirely beyond our control, though we understand and respect the decisions made by the Anime Comics and Games organizers.
Despite this setback, we are working very hard on delivering more fantastic events for esports fans around the world. We will soon announce more Intel Extreme Masters tournaments, including another one in Asia."
The decision came as a direct result of the Anime Comics and Games convention being canceled. The ACG event was where IEM was being hosted, similarly to how PAX played host to League of Legends North American finals. For those who are unfamiliar with the situation, the unrest is a result of a territorial dispute between China and Japan. Since the ACG showcases Japanese culture, the event organizers feared it would be the target of protests and riots and would be unsafe for attendees.
This is an unfortunate situation for fans, as last year's Guangzhou tournament was one of the most memorable events in eSports history. Hopefully it will return next year and continue its tradition of exciting, competitive gaming action.