League of Legends is one of the biggest and most prominent games played in the esports scene today, and like any real sport, its best players join professional teams to compete internationally. The game’s premiere league is the LCS, or League of Legends Championship Series, hosted officially by the game’s creators Riot Games.
Today, Riot announced that two major teams, Renegades and Team Dragon Knights (TDK), have been banned from playing in the LCS. According to the official post, the management of Renegades were found to have knowingly violated the competitive ban against Chris Badawi, former co-owner of Renegades. Last year, Badawi had a competitive ruling against him for soliciting a player under contract with another team to join his team. Renegades was found to have misrepresented its relationship with TDK, and is said to have “compromised player welfare and safety.”
As such, neither Renegades nor TDK will be allowed to participate in Riot-sanctioned leagues.
Christopher Mykles, better known as MonteCristo, who’s a caster for OnGameNet and owner of ggChronicle and Renegades will also face a one-year ban from holding any Riot-sanctioned position within a competing organization.
Both Chris Shim and Sean Shim, the co-owners of TDK, are indefinitely banned from association or affiliation with any organizations in a Riot-sanctioned league. Their status will only be subject for review in January 2019 at the earliest.
According to Riot Games, the organization received “multiple serious allegations” about Renegades, which centered around team ownership structure and behavior, player welfare and treatment within the team, and collusion. In response to these allegations, Riot performed an investigation that lasted weeks and found that several of the allegations to be corroborated by testimony and evidence.
Their investigation revealed that Christopher Mykles, the current owner of Renegades, had a deal with the previously banned Chris Badawi that would grant him a 50% stake in the team once his suspension had been lifted. This is in direct violation of LCS rules, which doesn’t allow these kinds of ownership deals to be made, especially with an individual with a suspension against him. Riot found that Mykles did not disclose his arrangement during the LCS team vetting process and they consider his omission to be intentional, in order to circumvent Badawi’s ban. Riot Games states that had he disclosed the ownership arrangement, Renegades would not have been accepted into the LCS.
Furthermore, multiple sources have alleged to Riot that Badawi and others in management had confrontations with the players, refused to honor their payments and contract provisions, and failed to maintain a safe environment for members of the team.
Finally, Riot Games discovered that Renegades and TDK misled LCS officials with regards to their corporate relationship. The officials made repeated direct inquiries to the owners of both teams regarding their independence and both teams’ owners claimed that they were not affiliated in any form whatsoever. The investigation uncovered evidence that put their claims in doubt, and discovered that some of the players were compensated or housed by their former teams even after being traded.
Co-mingled finances and operations can lead to establishment of influence between teams that forces one party into non-beneficial decisions (like trading away strong players) and, at worst, unfair play (described in Rule 10.1 of the LCS ruleset) – that’s why such arrangements are expressly forbidden in the LCS ruleset and Team Agreement.