Due to global health concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, IEM Katowice 2020's playoff stage will be played without a live audience after the Silesian authorities removed their approval of hosting a mass event in the city at this time.

No audience in the Spodek

In a surprise late-breaking development, ESL has announced that the playoff stage of IEM Katowice will not allow for on-site attendance due to a regulatory decision in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Silesian provincial governor Jarosław Wieczorek's decision came off the back of growing global concerns about the disease's incubation period and the increasing number of reported cases in Europe, even though there are no confirmed cases in Poland at the time of writing. Previously, ESL's spokesperson people have gone on record stating that the event will continue as planned, per HLTV's reporting.

ESL's statement reads as follows:

"Due to the dynamic changes in the global health situation and in order to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the region, the Gouverneur of Silesian (Silesian Voivode) Jaroslaw Wieczorek issued a decision to remove their approval regarding ESL hosting a mass event in Katowice, Poland. Due to this development, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 will not have any audience on-site. ESL respects this decision from the local authorities and is currently working on reaching out to all ticket holders, guests, and media. Tickets will be fully refunded. The tournament will be conducted and broadcasted as planned, but without any additional visitors on-site. We are deeply sorry for all fans and players."

The tournament will otherwise proceed as planned but without the Spodek's famous crowd to enhance the experience. Though ESL has already confirmed that tickets will be refunded, it remains to be seen how prospective attendants' accomodations and travel costs will be handled in light of this vis maior.

Photo credit: HLTV