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Counter-Strike League Makes It Clear: Crocs Are Banned

If a pro player decides to break the rule, they could be fined $250 or more in the next ESL event.

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A photo shows Crocs hanging in a store with a red banned symbol in front of them all.
Photo: ZikG / Kotaku (Shutterstock)

The ESL, a large Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports league, announced all the changes it made to its rule book ahead of the upcoming IEM Cologne 2023 competition in Germany. And among the changes is a very important one: Crocs are banned.

Launched in 2015 as the Electronic Sports League, the ESL has evolved and grown to become one of the biggest CS:GO competitive leagues in the world. The league holds tournaments around the world and features more than a dozen teams spread across four regions of the globe. And before its next big event in August, the ESL wanted to let everyone know its thoughts on open-toed shoes.

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On July 20, ESL announced over 50 new and amended rules take effect immediately, but it’s the Croc ban that stood out amid a clarification regarding open-toed shoes and foam clogs aka Crocs. Numerous fans and players online across Twitter and Reddit joked about the Croc clarification, seen specifically in a tweak to rule 4.3 found in the events section of the ESL Pro Tour General Rules Book.

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  • Clarified in “4.3 Clothing” that Crocs are considered open shoes and therefore not allowed.

Other banned clothing for ESL Pro events includes shorts, flip-flops, and “any kind of headwear.” If you decide to wear Crocs anyway, be prepared to pay at minimum a $250 fine. Apparently, ESL will provide “suitable clothing” for folks who aren’t following the rules and the cost of those rule-allowed items will be “subtracted from the prize money” players might win. Yikes!

Once again, the humble Croc is treated like a problem and not given the respect it deserves. That little hero was a platforming master and a loveable reptile who…wait a minute, someone is explaining to me that this is actually about banning those ugly plastic-looking shoes and has nothing to do with Fox Interactive’s hit platformer from 1997, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos. Honestly, this all makes a lot more sense now…