Ahead of the League of Legends offseason in November, MAD Lions has alleged tampering by G2 Esports and pushed for a vote in recent owners’ meetings asking Riot Games’ LEC office to lobby Riot’s global esports department to revise the global tampering and poaching rules, sources who participated in said meetings told Dot Esports.
Those meetings occurred on Sept. 2 and 3 and the vote passed 8-2, with G2 Esports voting “no,” according to sources. Vitality also voted “no,” arguing the current ruleset is not being properly enforced and amendments or changes to those rules should only come after proper enforcement of the existing poaching and tampering rules, sources said. MAD Lions and Vitality declined to comment. G2 Esports did not respond to a request for comment.
Riot said in a statement to Dot Esports today that no official complaint has been filed by any LEC team against another for tampering and that it is not currently investigating any allegations of poaching or tampering.
“There has been no complaint filed with the LEC, and there is no ongoing investigation against any LEC team on this topic,” a Riot spokesperson told Dot Esports. “With regards to the team owners’ meeting: those happen regularly and the topics that are discussed are confidential.”
The most recently published version of the Riot Games Global Penalty Index outlines three different statutes around tampering and poaching.
The first, if a player tampers with another player to recruit them to another team, carries a minimum suspension of five months with a maximum penalty of 10 months. Tampering allegations must be reported within six months of the alleged incident.
The second rule prohibits non-player members or affiliates of a team from enticing or offering employment to a player contracted with another organization. The maximum penalty for such a violation is indefinite, and the incident of alleged poaching or tampering must be reported to Riot within six months of occurring.
The third rule says a player or coach may not solicit an offer of employment from another team while they are under contract without the expressed consent of their current team. Violations can result in a minimum of a three-month suspension and a maximum of 15 months, and must also be reported within six months after the incident occurs.
The allegations of tampering come amid uncertainty within G2 of how it will proceed with the future of its League team after failing to qualify for the World Championship for the first time in five years. The team negotiated an additional contract year with mid laner Caps, extending his existing deal through November 2023. But it’s also evaluating the future of top laner Wunder, bot laner Rekkles, support Mikyx, and head coach GrabbZ—all who remain under contract with the team but could land elsewhere in 2022.
Despite tension between the two, MAD has granted a tryout for G2 with its SuperLiga team AD carry Victor “Flakked” Lirola, sources familiar with those discussions said. G2 is also interested in bot laner Carzzy, who will compete with MAD Lions at the World Championship in October, prior to his current contract expiring in November. MAD recently reached a contract extension with support Kaiser, as reported by Dot Esports, but it has not completed an extension with Carzzy, and discussions between the team and player remain ongoing, according to Dot Esports’ Pablo Suárez.
G2 was previously accused of tampering with players in two different instances in prior seasons.
The first instance occurred in 2016 when Origen alleged that then-G2 mid laner Perkz poached bot laner Zven and support Mithy, who later joined G2, and that 10 to 15 European pro players participated in a secret group chat, according to a report at the time from Slingshot Esports. No penalty was levied against G2 or Perkz.
Other allegations levied in 2018 and made public in a report by VPEsports sparked a larger controversy. That report said Perkz tampered with top laner Odoamne, bot laners Hjarnan and Upset, and support Wadid. Shortly after that article was published, however, the LEC denied it had received a formal complaint from any team in the league in a statement to The Shotcaller.
Correction Sept. 15 5:15pm CT: A previous version of this article incorrectly said the Riot Games Global Penalty Index outlines two different rules around tampering and poaching. The Global Penalty Index actually outlines three rules, including a “Non-Player Team Affiliate Intensively Tampering or Poaching Player” clause, which prevents non-player members of an organization or non-player affiliates from offering employment to coaches or players who are contracted with another organization. This article has been updated to reflect the correct information. We regret this error.