It's off-season again which means time for change – and as if the currently ongoing roster changes in the LCS were not enough Riot Games has released two competitive rulings concerning one team from the North American Challenger Series and two teams in the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS). In a shocking decision, Riot Games has ruled that Team Impulse, Renegades and TDK (Team Dragon Knights) will be banned from the LCS and any other Riot Games endorsed LoL leagues before the start of the 2016 Summer Split. All three teams have 10 days to sell their LCS spots due to misconduct. Here are details:
Renegades and TDK
According to the official statement, Renegades management has knowingly violated the competitive ban against Chris Badawi, misinterpreted the relationship with TDK and jeopardized player safety and welfare. As a reminder, on June 24th 2015, Chris Badawi, former owner of TDK and a part owner of Renegades, was banned from having official position for all events associated with Riot Games in seasons 2015 and 2016. Then, Badawi resigned his part ownership of Renegades’ LoL team, but still remained in the organization in the Counter-Strike division.
Here’s where the plot thickens, Riot Games discovered the evidence which firmly states that Badawi had a deal with the current owner of Renegades, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, wherein he’d get 50% ownership of the team after his ban is lifted. However, according to Riot Games’ rules, this is considered ownership at any given time meaning this agreement between Mykles and Badawi is against the LCS Rulebook.
The official statement also includes player welfare violation. Riot Games received multiple testimonies about player welfare issues in the Renegades team during 2016 Spring Split. The testimonies were confirmed by multiple sources working with the team. These allegations included:
- Confrontations between management and players
- Refusal to honor payment and contract provisions
- Failure to maintain a safe environment for all team members.
Independence of teams and competitive integrity
Renegades and TDK have deliberately misled League officials with respect to their corporate relationship. The problem here was trade and the status of the players. The League officials discovered that some players were compensated and housed by their former team even after the trade was completed.
Both Renegades and TDK will no longer be allowed to participate in leagues associated and governed by Riot Games. Chris Badawi is permanently banned from affiliation and association with any team participating in Riot Games-sanctioned events. Christopher Mykles is banned for one year. TDK owners, Chris and Sean Shim, are indefinitely banned from any Riot-sanctioned leagues. The first review of this ruling is in January 2019.
You can read the official statement regarding TDK and Renegades here.
Due to the fact Team Impulse took over LMQ’s LCS spot starting last season, Riot Games claim there are several violations of their Rulebook.
Routine League-wide contract audit conducted in March 2016 showed that Team Impulse didn’t have contracts with any of their players. However, the major problem here is the fact they falsely claimed the contracts existed. Riot Games conducted more thorough investigation wherein they discovered players from the previous split didn’t have contracts either. Team Impulse tried to find a quick fix in signing contracts with some players, but according to Riot Games Rulebook, all players need to have contracts.
Late or missing payments
Ownership of Team Impulse has been late in paying its players in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, several TIP players informed League officials they didn’t get paid their full salaries. However, due to lack of contracts, Riot Games hasn’t been able to confirm or to intervene in this situation meaning that TIP still owes money amounting to multiple months of pay to its players.
Due to violation of the rules, Team Impulse is banned from participating in the LCS. Riot Games will grant grace period to TIP until May 18th to sell all rights and legal claim to their LCS berth i.e. finalized transfer agreement has to be presented to the League officials and the owner must pass the standard approval process. Furthermore, TIP is fined $20,000 from its final team payment for the 2016 LCS Spring Split.
You can read the official statement here.
Riot Games has, definitely, raised its standards and it can mean one thing – we can expect stricter rules and more surprises to come. With these rulings, Riot Games demonstrated that safety and welfare of players who participate in these events is essential and stressed the importance for teams to regularly pay their players for their hard work.
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About the Author: Amna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.