The ESL-run team association WESA esports agency RFRSH have reached an agreement that will see RFRSH abide by WESA’s policies on team ownership.
RFRSH, which represents Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams Astralis, GODSENT, and Heroic, had previously not ruled out owning shares in multiple teams at the same time. This caused controversy, with WESA having introduced regulations to stop just that in March. Just a day later, RFRSH hit back against suggestions that its model caused conflicts of interest.
The agency is involved in the initial development of a team over three years—including potentially taking an ownership stake in that time. Once the team is well established, RFRSH would sell its stake. RFRSH founder Nikolaj Nyholm argued that teams would “be its own entity” and, thus, couldn’t see a conflict of interest.
WESA disagrees, however. Although the RFRSH teams are not members of WESA, any suggestion of multiple ownership could have threatened their future participation in the WESA-sanctioned ESL Pro League.
“The rules and regulations we have implemented are designed to protect the integrity of our Member organizations, their players, and the esports industry at large,” said WESA commissioner Ken Hershman. “RFRSH has indicated that they also share the vision to invest in improvements for players, fans, and the scene in general. We are very pleased that RFRSH has embraced the regulations and we look forward to continue working with them to move the industry forward.”
This agreement is purely related to the ownership issue, to ensure that teams like Astralis will comply with the rules WESA has agreed. It does not mean that the RFRSH teams will become full WESA members.
“RFRSH shares the same vision as WESA and its Members to help further professionalize the esports industry,” said RFRSH’s Nikolaj Nyholm. “We are taking the necessary steps to comply to WESA’s rules and regulations and are excited to work alongside WESA and all of its Members.”
As with ESforce owned teams Virtus Pro and SK Gaming, RFRSH will be given an 18-month grace period to comply, which is a very long time in a fast-moving industry like esports.