Russia and Belarus will not compete at this year's IESF World Championships ©IESF

The International Esports Federation (IESF) has confirmed that Russian and Belarusian players will not be able to compete at this year's World Championships in Romania because the "safety and security of all athletes" cannot be guaranteed.

It comes after Mihai Chirica, the Mayor of host city Iași, told the IESF that he would not be able to secure the safety of Russian athletes if they arrived. 

Chirica had "strongly hinted" that they should not attend the World Championships, which are due to run between August 24 and September 4, it was claimed by Russia's state news agency TASS.

Both Russia and Belarus were eligible to compete in Iași as neutrals, as per the stance adopted by the IESF amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

"While IESF strongly believes in the unifying power of sport and inclusivity among athletes from different nations, it is crucial to prioritise the safety and security of all participants," the governing body said to insidethegames.

"After engaging in extensive discussions with the co-organisers of the forthcoming IESF World Esports Championships, due to certain concerns raised by the Mayor of Iași, the safety and security of all athletes participating in the event cannot be guaranteed at this time, and therefore athletes from Russia and Belarus will not be able to participate. 

"IESF is continuously striving to overcome the situation and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Russia and Belarus will not appear in Romania due to safety concerns ©IESF
Russia and Belarus will not appear in Romania due to safety concerns ©IESF

"The organisation remains dedicated to promoting the values of unity and fair play, and will work tirelessly to create opportunities for athletes from all nations to come together and showcase their skills on a worldwide stage."

Six games are planned for the World Championships - CS:GO, Dota 2, Tekken 7, eFootball, PUBG MOBILE and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

A Russian team placed third in the CS:GO tournament held at the previous World Championships in Bali last year.

"Sport has the unique power to connect people from around the world and provides us with a platform for peace-building and future conflict prevention," the IESF said. 

"IESF is committed to promoting peace and development throughout the world's esports community and providing all athletes with a safe and supportive environment where they have the tools and resources to perform at their full potential. 

"All IESF members and the IESF Board support peace and are against any kind of war. 

"We aim for a safe and supportive environment while embodying the values of respect, peace, unity, and friendship."