In one of the largest rulings in League of Legends history, three teams have been officially banned from Riot-sanctioned leagues. Renegades and Team Impulse of the Championship Series and Team Dragon Knights of the Challenger Series will no longer be allowed to compete in Riot competitions, and will have ten days to sell their LCS/CS spots.
According to an official ruling released today, Team Impulse “has repeatedly failed to pay their players on time and to provide valid contracts for their players.” Following multiple allegations to and interventions by Riot regarding the issue, management has been found in contempt of the Team Agreement and LCS Rules.
In a separate ruling following weeks of investigation, Riot finds Renegades “to have knowingly violated the competitive ban against Chris Badawi, misrepresented their relationship with TDK, and compromised player welfare and safety.” Allegations regarding ownership, player welfare and collusion were found to be “corroborated by testimony and evidence from parties involved.”
Ownership charges revolve around the involvement of former Renegades owner Chris Badawi, who is currently banned from acting as a team manager, owner, or player in Riot Games competitions. The ruling states that Badawi was offered an undisclosed 50% stake in the team following his suspension, which surmounts to a current stake by LCS rules. “We consider [this] to be an intentional and material omission apparently designed to circumvent the clear and public ban of Badaw,” the ruling reads.
The player welfare charges against Renegades “included confrontations between management and players, refusal to honor payment and contract provisions, and failure to maintain a safe environment for all team members.” Riot says these allegations have been corroborated by multiple sources close to or involved with the team.
TDK and Renegades have also been found in violation of competitive integrity, specifically regarding trade agreements between the organizations. Traded players were found to be receiving unreported compensation from their former teams. “Co-mingled finances and operations can lead to establishment of influence between teams that forces one party into non-beneficial decisions (like trading away strong players) and, at worst, unfair play,” Riot states.
Chris Badawi has been permanently banned “from any association or affiliation with a team in a Riot-sanctioned league.” Due to his involvement in the allegations as owner, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles has been banned from holding a team position for one year, but will not be barred from working as a shoutcaster or broadcast analyst. TDK co-owners Chris Shim and Sean Shim are indefinitely banned from any team affiliation, with the opportunity to apply for reinstatement in 2019.
All three teams will have until May 18 to sell their competitive berths. “We believe that this is the best way to protect the players, as a buyer for the team will hopefully be inclined and able to negotiate for the assignment of the players’ contracts as well,” Riot says in an attached Q&A. “If the team agreement was simply terminated, the players’ existing contracts cannot be transferred by Riot to a new owner, so would require new negotiations and would not necessarily include all former players.”
None of the teams involved nor their owners have commented on the ruling yet, though we’ll keep you updated as the story unfolds.