The top two teams in MLG’s League of Legends Summer Championship, Curse NA and Team Dignitas, have been disqualified for collusion after the event’s final.
Both teams reportedly agreed to play ARAM in the first round of the final, and planned to split the prize money equally - although Team Curse continues to deny the latter as mere “allegation”.
ARAM - all random, all mid - is an unofficial LoL game type in which only use of the middle lane of the map is permitted and every player is given a random champion.
“We have determined that there was collusion between the two final teams, Curse NA and Team Dignita,” said MLG in a statement. “This is in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of MLG’s Official Pro Circuit Conduct Rules: ‘competitors may not intentionally Forfeit a Game or conspire to manipulate Rankings or Brackets.’ As such, both teams have been disqualified, and no placements or prize money will be awarded.
“Riot has agreed with this decision and, in accordance with their Season 2 rules on Unsportsmanlike Conduct, will not be awarding Circuit points to either team.”
All other Summer Championship results stand, with Circuit Points awarded and the full prize money of $40,000 to be split between the remaining winners in third, fourth, fifth and sixth places - but no first and second place will been given.
Team Curse released a video soon after the final, apologising for playing ARAM but dismissing MLG’s given reason for the disqualification as "allegations of collusion".
“We just want to apologise to MLG and the fans and Riot for what happened today with the ARAM and the allegations of collusion. We feel that we kind of disrespected eSports and the professionalism that it should have, and we’re just really sorry for that.
“The fans deserve a better show and MLG deserves a better show - they spent tons of money to put this on. And Riot deserves a better show, because they have put so much money and so much backing and time and effort into it. We really want to say that we’re sorry, and that you can expect better of us in the future.”
In a follow-up video, Team Curse attempted to clarify the grounds on which they were disqualified, claiming that any collusion ended with Curse and Dignitas agreeing to play ARAM for the first game.
“We thought it would be fun. Not a lot of people appreciated it, our fans didn’t appreciate it. Anything outside of this is false, any accusations are false.” Including, seemingly, MLG’s assertion that the teams had agreed to split the prize money.
In a separate interview with Gamespot, Curse's Elementz claimed that the teams played ARAM because it was “just something fun to do”.
“That’s pretty much it. We thought it would be something cool to do and we thought the fans would enjoy it and it turned out that was not the case whatsoever.”
For MLG, however, the choice of ARAM wasn’t the key issue at hand. MLG SVP Lee Chen tweeted: “To be clear here folks, the Collusion had nothing to do with the ARAM. CRS/DIG conspired to split prize money”. Riot Games’ VP of eSports Dustin Beck, meanwhile, commented in the developer’s forums to confirm the same.
Amid contradictory statements and fan worries that MLG were acting on rumour alone, MLG’s Adam Apicella has said that the organisation drew on conclusive evidence before making their decision: “The collusion was planned and discussed in a public, crowded setting. The entire venue was aware of it. Not happy to be in this position.”
“We went over the evidence in detail with Riot,” added Chen. “They support our decision. Teams did not dispute and will release statements.
“Matchfixing is never legal or okay. splitting prize money is the same thing. We're all trying to build eSports into something bigger and professional. Riot, MLG and all the teams. There's no way that matchfixing is ok.”
Despite disagreements over the exact nature of the disqualification, it seems neither team are disputing MLG’s decision. Chen tweeted that “both CRS and DIG players and orgs apologized to @MLG and to Riot for their conduct”.
You can watch what will likely be the first and last example of competitive level ARAM in action below:-