ESL has decided to reschedule matches for several top level teams competing in its ESL Pro League's fifth season. Unforeseen flight delays and cancellations have prevented three teams from making it back to their respective homes in time to compete at the scheduled time.
Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Virtus.pro, ranked No. 5, 8, and 3 respectively in the WWG CSGO Team Rankings were unable to make it back from DreamHack Masters Las Vegas due to issues with their scheduled flights.
ESL gave the following statement about the situation.
We started to receive first reports and warnings about a cancelled flight from Dreamhack Las Vegas back to Europe on Tuesday. We were also informed that this would likely prevent certain teams from being able to be in place for their matches this week. Teams affected included Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Virtus.pro. After receiving further information throughout last night and earlier this morning, we felt it necessary to invoke special circumstances and cancel the three affected matches this week and reschedule them to a later point which has not been defined yet.
Please note that, absent extraordinary circumstances such as we face here, rescheduling matches is not possible in the League. However, due to the special circumstances and the delays caused by the airline, we are granting a special exception. Players affected by this will in some cases arrive home after their official match start or just a short time before the start of their match after being on the road and traveling for more than 72 hours in a stressful and exhausting situation out of their control.
ESL makes sure to remind the reader that rescheduling matches is not a typical or often sought after practice. Only under specific circumstances can such a move be made and it should not be taken as something teams can request.
The official ruling per ESL's website:
This week’s matches in the European division between Natus Vincere and North (Wednesday 19:00 CET), Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic (Thursday 19:00 CET) and Virtus.pro vs. HellRaisers (Thursday 21:20 CET) will be rescheduled after the League declared special circumstances due to a cancelled flight - further impacted by delays - which affected three of the participating teams.