Gamers 2 owner Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez has written an open letter to Riot Games to protest the amount of poaching his team have been subject to. This comes after Riot Games recently banned former Renegades co-owner Chris Badawi—who was accused of tampering by multiple LCS teams—from all official capacities within an LCS team until the end of the 2016 season.
The letter doesn’t just allege that Badawi acted improperly in acquiring AD Carry Mohammad “Jebus” Tokhi, but also that SK Gaming made efforts to poach the team’s roster following its own internal crisis.
The letter ends: “We urge you to implement adequate rules for Challenger Series providing teams with a decent level of protection for their investment and efforts, as such encouraging and fostering sustained growth and continuity for all league participants, whilst further strengthening the integrity of the competitive scene.”
The drama comes at an inopportune time for SK Gaming, which has had a series of internal problems brought to light by the media. Sources in the organization tell the Daily Dot that the players do not want to play out the remainder of the season due to how they, and in particular their kicked teammate Christoph “nRated” Seitz, have been treated. The players have been under pressure from their organisation and Riot Games to see out the season.
One solution SK Gaming considered was to swap their current roster with Gamers2’s prior to the transfer deadline. That way, it would have a more settled squad for its must-win games. Sources close to Gamers 2, who have requested anonymity, told us “SK Gaming made an inquiry about the availability of [Lennart “Smitty” Warkus], [Jesse “Jesiz”Le] and [Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal], along with the coach [Joe “Innerflame” Elouassi], and they were told it would cost 100,000 euros for them.”
“In a bid to cheapen the deal,” they continued. “SK Gaming offered [Simon] “fredy122” [Payne], [Dennis] “Svenskeren” [Johnsen], [Adrian] “Candypanda” [Wübbelmann] and nRated. This offer came after SK Gaming had tried to get the G2 roster and left the management, and in particular Ocelote very angry.”
Here is the letter in full:
“Dear Riot Games,
We have tried to qualify for LCS for two years now, and we’re proud to put that in writing. While many other Challenger Series teams have come and gone in a split or two, we remain committed, despite the continuously increasing amount of money and resources invested. We love the game and the competition, and we work hard to support our players and provide them with everything they need in order to achieve our common goal of reaching LCS, but achieving that goal is becoming increasingly difficult given the nature of discrepancy and inconsistency in the professional League of Legends Challenger ruling.
In early May we learned that our star player and ADC Mohammad “Jebus” Tokhi had been poached by North American Challenger Series team owner Chris Badawi of former team Misfits, now Renegades (ownership remains the same), who publicly lied about approaching us in the first place, told more lies about the way we treated our players, defamed our organization and claimed the legal contract we had in place with Jebus was void, a contract which Badawi never actually had the chance to read. We released a statement on the situation back then, in case you aren’t up to speed.
We later came to learn that this was far from the only occasion in which Badawi had poached or tampered players from a professional League of Legends team, completely disregarding their current contractual agreements. The situation left us with no other option but to let the player go. Had we enforced Jebus’ contract and taken legal action against him and/or Badawi, we would’ve put ourselves in an extremely bad situation, both in the eyes of the public and in our relationship with the player in question. Jebus is a young, impressionable guy who somehow got convinced that he should trust a former lawyer and that everyone else was bad. For the record: Jebus has offered us 100% of his remaining earnings in the club following his departure (about 2,500€) as a form of apology for not coming to us first, for not defending the truth in public, as well as leaving the club with no other compensation offered to us.
As Challenger Series team owners, we have no protection within the league from outsiders directly approaching our players without our knowledge. That goes for LCS, Challenger Series owners or any third parties. While an LCS team is now protected, Challenger Series teams remain screwed by anyone looking to scoop up promising young talent in the scene. For a Challenger Series team, qualifying for LCS is naturally the ultimate goal. But when you lose your star players mid-split, that goal is extremely difficult to reach.
Fast forward to one month ago, when the owner of SK Gaming approached our players and tried to sign our entire roster as their own Challenger Series team. And most recently, on July 12th, when we learned that the very same LCS team owner was tampering three of our players and our recently signed manager to replace his team’s current players before asking for a price. Later on, we were offered four of their players as a bargaining chip, whom, during a conversation with us, admitted to being unaware of what was going on as they had been offered a new contract to sign just hours before.
For any young talent, the promise of playing in LCS is alluring, but considering how a situation like that puts us as Challenger Series owners closing in on playoffs; How can we possibly reach LCS ourselves, if our star players – and now team manager – are continually tampered by other owners with no rules or regulations to prevent them from conducting business in such a manner?
Ultimately, we ask that you consider the predicament we face time and time again. We create a lineup of promising talent, that talent becomes successful and grows in value, an LCS team swoops in behind our backs and offers the talent a place in LCS, talent instantly becomes demotivated if we don’t let go, talent then goes to LCS (in many cases mid-split) and the lineup we’ve built, supported and put so much work into is instantly damaged.
We hope you understand our concerns and take action so teams looking to reach LCS are protected. We urge you to implement adequate rules for Challenger Series providing teams with a decent level of protection for their investment and efforts, as such encouraging and fostering sustained growth and continuity for all league participants, whilst further strengthening the integrity of the competitive scene.
Thank you for your time.