The newly formed LEC, formerly the EU LCS for the top European League of Legends teams, hopes to bring a higher profile to LoL teams in the EU. However, the league has been rocked on the eve of the start of the new LoL season. Several teams are set to make a complaint against another for allegedly tapping up their contracted players.
VPE Esports, along with several other news sources, have announced G2 Esports is the team at the center of the complaints. While no other team names are listed officially, the article claims multiple teams are set to make official complaints to Riot Games about how G2 Esports has conducted recruitment.
The nature of the complaint against G2
The complaint hinges on the actions of G2 Esports star player Luka “Perkz” Perkovic. The clubs making the complaint allege that Perkz is the method through which G2 Esports contact players while they remain under contract with other teams.
It is alleged that Perkz waits until a few months before contracts expire on the players he wants to play with and then reaches out through Facebook, Skype, Discord and Riot’s client software. He will then court them to sign with G2 Esports, after which he hands control to the company’s management team. It finalizes the deal when the player is eventually a free agent.
Why that is not allowed by Riot Games?
Riot Games’ Global Penalty Index clearly indicates attempting to lure players or coaches from other teams, or effectively “poaching” them, is not allowed. Riot Games call this “solicitation.”
“For the avoidance of the doubt, any discussion of contractual relations, whether that interferes with the current contract or entails offers of future employment after the duration of an active contract, is impermissible,” read Riot’s rules.
Furthermore, Riot has said that the typical and minimum suspension time for such offenses is three competitive months. The maximum suspension permissible is 15 competitive months.
How far-reaching are the allegations?
So far, no member of G2 Esports besides Perkz has been named in the complaint.
One source who has been part of the evidence-gathering process for the complaint explained to VPE Esports how Perkz and G2 Esports work to entice players to sign with them, while under contract at other teams:
“He [Perkz] controls the roster. He chooses who he wants to play with and then is told by the organisation to go out and get the players. The G2 management then close the deals.”
The first murmurings of G2 Esports being involved in the tapping up of players surfaced in November 2016, when Josh Raven that Perkz contacted two Origen players, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre, while they were under contract. He allegedly encouraged them to refuse new deals with their current teams and instead join G2 Esports.
While he was not publicly sanctioned at the time, Perkz was believed to have been warned against engaging in tbehavioriour in the future.
VPE Esports also claims to have seen Skype conversations between Perkz and former H2K Gaming player Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu about Pascu joining G2 Esports when his H2K contract expired.
There are also complaints that two other players, Kim “Wadid” Bae-in and Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss, were contacted while under contract by Perkz, approximately three weeks before they were set to become free agents. Perkz made these initial contacts on Facebook before moving the conversation to Teamspeak to avoid paper trails, it is alleged.
In November 2018, Fnatic founder Sam Mathews posted a very relevant tweet. He stated: “one of the perkz of my job is I don’t poach.” It’s believed to be a reference to the fact that former Fnatic player Rasmus “Caps” Winther refused to sign a new contract with the team and instead signed for G2 Esports on Nov. 25.
Will G2 Esports and Perkz face any sanctions?
Another source revealed that they didn’t feel it would be fair if Perkz was to be singled out for punishment.
“I don’t know if all the blame will go on him, but it wouldn’t be fair if it did,” this person told VPE. “This is G2 Esports thinking they can get away with anything because they have been getting away with it for so long. The other teams have had enough.”
G2 Esports has issued a response to the stories stating, “Perkz has never contacted players under contract with other teams on behalf of G2.” The team offered no evidence to corroborate this statement.
Riot has been somewhat lenient in the past on such matters. The record fine is a paltry $10,000. It is likely Perkz would receive a similar fine for his actions if found guilty. However, if he is suspended for three months, he would likely miss a significant chunk of the Summer Split.
The ball now seems to be in Riot’s court. It will be interesting to see how the developer and organiser of the key series deals with the complaint.