Counter Logic Gaming, on of eSports’ largest organisations, has been fined a hefty $10,000 for breaking LCS rules. The eSports giant has been found guilty of attempting to ‘poach’ player William “Scarra” Li, a player for rival organisation Dignitas.
The fine is the largest ever handed out by LCS, which highlights the severity of the case, and has been intensified by untruths told by Counter Logic Gaming’s bosses.
The case comes from reports to LCS that during September’s North American LCS Regionals Counter Logic Gaming’s owner George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis approached William “Scarra” Li to express an interest in working with him. At the time Li was under contract with Dignitas as a substitute player. Unter LCS rules – “No Poaching or Tampering” – negotiations for transfers cannot be made during a player’s contract period to a team.
During the following weeks members of Counter Logic Gaming spoke to Li about the possibility of him coaching for them in the next season. Talks extended into discussing the possibility of him not re-signing with Dignitas during the offseason.
When LCS was made aware of the situation they discussed the issue with Counter Logic Gaming. Georgallidis reportedly made repeated false statements to LCS officials during their investigation, denying any knowledge of conversations between Li and Counter Logic Gaming. LCS had gathered multiple sources to suggest otherwise, and thus came to the conclusion that Counter Logic Gaming were in violation f the anti-tampering/poaching rules.
Alongside the $10,000 fine, Counter Logic will not be allowed to field William Li on their team for the first three weeks of the 2015 LCS Spring Split. For that period they will be required to hire a temporary Head Coach.
“We consider poaching to be a serious violation which challenges the competitive integrity of the league – as such, the penalties we consider are severe. LCS teams are expected to respect not only the contracts that they’ve signed with their own players, but those that other organizations have signed with theirs,” explained League Operations Manager Nick Allen in a post on the League of Legends eSports website.
“This ruling reflects our desire to send a clear signal that poaching is unacceptable in the LCS, as is deliberately making false statements to LCS officials.”
In response Counter Logic Gaming issued a statement on their website, with George Georgallidis saying: “I knew the rules, and it was very disrespectful of me to not abide by them. It was not what I should have been doing, and it’s not what eSports needs to grow and gain mainstream legitimacy. This is not what CLG is about, but I’m not a perfect person and I’ll admit it. CLG’s results have not been satisfactory as of late and I was trying to fix that, but I went about doing it the wrong way. I have learned my lesson and completely understand and accept Riot’s ruling. I denied the allegations initially, because I was scared of the consequences, but that made things worse. I should have been honest, and it will not happen again. I extend my sincerest apologies to Odee, Dignitas, the guys at CLG, and the community for my actions.”