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Competitive Ruling: Counter Logic Gaming | LoL Esports

Competitive Ruling: Counter Logic Gaming

Organization: Counter Logic Gaming
Region: North America
Date of Ruling: January 6, 2015
Subject: Penalty; Violation of LCS Ruleset

Background

We were notified of allegations that Counter Logic Gaming’s (CLG) management violated the LCS anti-tampering/poaching provision by attempting to recruit Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya during October of last year. ZionSpartan was at the time still under contract with Team Dignitas. Attempting to recruit LCS Team Members that are still under contract with other LCS organizations is a serious offense, and we began a thorough investigation to verify these allegations.

Following the publication of our recent competitive ruling regarding CLG poaching William “Scarra” Li, CLG’s management voluntarily came forward to disclose the nature of ZionSpartan’s recruitment to LCS officials.

As a result of our investigation and with CLG’s cooperation, we’ve discovered the following:

During the 2014 NA LCS Summer Playoffs in early September, Counter Logic Gaming team member Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng had a conversation with ZionSpartan regarding his off-season plans and encouraged him to join CLG. ZionSpartan was still under contract with Dignitas at the time.

Conversations between Doublelift and ZionSpartan regarding a potential move to CLG in the off-season continued off-and-on over the next several weeks.

After ZionSpartan’s contract with Dignitas expired, he approached CLG management to negotiate a contract with the team for this coming season and was soon afterwards signed to the CLG roster.

Relevant Rules

10.2.12 No Poaching or Tampering.

“No Team Member or Affiliate of a team may solicit, lure, or make an offer of employment to any Team Member who is signed to any LCS team, nor encourage any such Team Member to breach or otherwise terminate a contract with said LCS team. Violations of this rule shall be subject to penalties, at the discretion of LCS officials.”

Ruling

CLG and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng have violated rule 10.2.12 of the LCS ruleset and will be subject to penalties.

Competition Penalties

Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng is:

  • Fined $2,500

Counter Logic Gaming is:

  • Fined $2,000
  • Restricted from fielding Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya as a player or coach for ‘the first week of the 2015 LCS Spring Split

Context

  • CLG’s management voluntarily came forward to disclose information regarding ZionSpartan’s recruitment to CLG. Doublelift, ZionSpartan, and CLG management all spoke separately with LCS officials and all gave similar accounts of the series of events which led to ZionSpartan’s recruitment to CLG.
  • We considered CLG’s, ZionSpartan’s, and Doublelift’s cooperation with us on this matter to be significant when weighing what the appropriate penalty in this case should be, which is one reason why this penalty differs from the one we levied in our recent ruling regarding CLG’s poaching of Scarra. That said, this ruling is still meant to convey that poaching is completely unacceptable in the LCS.
  • Our goal in restricting CLG from being able to field ZionSpartan is to limit the value of an ill-gotten acquisition. Our goal with penalties is to help avoid similar situations in the future, and a fine alone will not effectively deter determined organizations from attempting to poach players.
  • Teams are responsible for their players. Doublelift claims he did not notify CLG management of his efforts to recruit ZionSpartan while he was still under contract with Dignitas. Individual players who violate rules are accountable for their actions, but LCS teams are held responsible for the actions of their players and are required to arm them with knowledge of the LCS ruleset and monitor their behavior to ensure they are not violating them.