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The premier event of IEM Cologne will take place as a studio competition in less than two weeks.

The Intel Extreme Masters Cologne (IEM) 2021 event in early/mid-July is the next Major on the ESL Counter-Strike: Global Offensive calendar, with teams set to return to the Cathedral of Counter-Strike in early/mid-July.

The tournament, which has been in the works for a long, will have a $1 million prize pool, with $400,000 going to the winner, who will be selected on July 18 when the tournament concludes.

In the run-up to the event, the ESL recently revealed on Twitter that IEM Cologne 2021 will be played on LAN, which means that for the first time since 2019, all of the competing teams and players will be in Cologne and playing in the iconic cathedral venue, which was cancelled due to the global pandemic in 2020.

On Friday, Michal “Carmac” Blicharz, vice-president of pro gaming at ESL, posted on Twitter, “We will be in touch with the community in the following days to explain further what to expect and how it’s all coming together.”

After more than a year of primarily online activity, Counter-Strike fans will be relieved to see in-person events return. IEM Katowice 2020 was the final major CS:GO competition to be hosted on LAN, with the playoffs being held behind closed doors due to the Silesian Governor’s fears over the coronavirus outbreak. Natus Vincere won the championship with a three-map sweep against G2 with no one in the stands at Spodek.

The Play-In stage, a two-day qualifier with 16 teams in attendance, will kick off IEM Cologne 2021. The top eight teams from this double-elimination bracket will join the top eight teams from the ESL Pro Tour (Road to Cologne) leaderboard in the main tournament.

IEM Cologne 2021 will take place from July 6 to July 18, and you can watch the action live on ESL’s Twitch stream here.

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