Intel World Open Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition online qualifiers rescheduled to May due to COVID-19 coronavirus spread

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • March 20, 2020 at 8:05 a.m. PDT

Another major fighting game community event has been forced to make adjustments due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The Intel World Open Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition online qualifier tournaments that were set to begin this weekend have been rescheduled to this May.

ESL, who is handling production for the tournament series, released a statement this morning with the news. Much like with other FGC events that have been canceled or postponed, the safety of everyone involved with this tournament circuit is being taken into account here.

"While we were looking forward to this as much as you were, the health and safety of our players, fans, partners, staff and their families is our top priority," ESL's statement reads.

Initially, the open online qualifiers for Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition were set to kick off on March 21. We'd see qualifying events until May 10, with closed qualifiers taking place on May 16 - 17, followed by a live qualifier tournament in Katowice, Poland on June 18 - 21, and lastly, the Intel World Open Finals in Tokyo, Japan on July 22 - 24.

With today's announcement, the Street Fighter 5 online qualifiers will begin on May 2, and will allow any player at any skill level to compete for a chance to make it onto the official team to represent their country or region. This lines up with the online qualifiers for Rocket League as well.

The official Intel World Open website notes the online qualifier change, and it looks like the event in Poland is scheduled for June 11 - 14, with the big finale still slated for July 22 - 24 at this point in time.

There is a total of $500,000 on the line for this tournament circuit, with $250,000 going to Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition and Rocket League each. For more rules and information on the Intel World Open's format, you can check out our story here.

ESL's statement

Thank you all for joining us on this journey to bring eSports to the global community ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 developments, we have made the difficult decision to reschedule the March 21 Intel World Open Qualifiers for Street Fighter V out of respect for the global eSports and gaming communities.

Rescheduling the start date allows us time to properly plan for all contingencies before launching the tournament to ensure we deliver the best possible experience to our players and fans possible.

While we were looking forward to this as much as you were, the health and safety of our players, fans, partners, staff and their families is our top priority. We feel it is best to allow some additional time to prepare for a great competition.

This means the online qualifiers for Street Fighter V, which was planned to kick off on March 21, will now shift to May 2. Both Street Fighter V and Rocket League online qualifiers will now start on May 2.

The Intel World Open is another of Street Fighter 5's major tournament circuits that has been affected by the coronavirus. Also expected to start earlier this month, the Capcom Pro Tour 2020 has seen several of its first events canceled or postponed, delaying the start of the season.

Earlier this week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance regarding events taking place during the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Any events with 50 people or more scheduled during the next eight weeks should be canceled or postponed by event organizers, meaning we'll likely be seeing most open brack tournaments in the FGC follow suit.

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