North American League of Legends Championship Series teams Team Impulse and Renegades and Challenger Series team Team Dragon Knights have been handed the death penalty by Riot Games, barring them from participating in future sanctioned League contests.
In a pair of competitive rulings released Sunday, Riot detailed serious accusations made against the owners of both LCS teams, including failure to pay players, improper treatment of players, and failure to disclose information that would have made the team ineligible to compete.
Highlights from the ruling on Team Impulse (and more from former player Gate):
- Team Impulse management has repeatedly failed to pay their players on time and to provide valid contracts for their players
- In March 2016, a routine League-wide contract audit revealed that Team Impulse had no contracts signed with any of their players, despite submitting summary sheets which falsely claimed that full contracts existed.
- Over the course of 2015 and 2016, Team Impulse ownership has been chronically late in paying its players the League-mandated Minimum Player Compensation
- During the 2015 Summer Split, League officials learned that TIP players had not been paid for the duration of the split
- Several team members are still believed to be owed money, in some cases amounting to multiple months of pay
And from Renegades/ Team Dragon Knights:
- Renegades management has been found to have knowingly violated the competitive ban against Chris Badawi, misrepresented their relationship with TDK, and compromised player welfare and safety. Both the Renegades organization and TDK organization will no longer be allowed to continue participating in Riot-sanctioned leagues.
- We have been provided with evidence that current Renegades owner Christopher Mykles had a deal in place with suspended former owner Chris Badawi that would grant Badawi a 50% stake in the team once his suspension had expired.
- Allegations of player welfare concerns regarding Badawi's behavior, including confrontations between management and players, refusal to honor payment and contract provisions, and failure to maintain a safe environment for all team members.
- While handling trade requests between [Renegades and TDK], League officials made repeated direct inquiries of the team owners regarding independence of the two organizations, terms of the trades, and status of players and payments. Both teams assured officials that their businesses were not linked in any fashion, and that the trade was in the mutual interest of both teams independent of any additional relationship or agreement. Subsequently, League officials received evidence that indicated that some of the players were compensated and/or housed by their former teams even after the trade was completed, including payments for the month following the trade.
Badawi, who was previously suspended for trying to sign a player under contract with another team, will be permanently banned from Riot-sanctioned leagues, while Mykles, popularly known as shoutcaster "Montecristo," is banned for one year from holding any Riot-sanctioned position within a competing organization. The ban will reportedly not affect his shoutcasting status, as he is works for South Korean esports channel OnGameNet.
Mykles has denied the accusations on Twitter, while Badawi did the same on Reddit. Renegades reportedly has already found a replacement buyer.
Team Impulse, originally known as LMQ, was a Chinese team that moved to North America in December 2013, and had played in the NA LCS for three seasons, finishing in fourth place twice. Team Dragon Knights formed in September 2014, spending one season in the top North American division before being relegated. Renegades was founded by in March 2015 as the Misfits, and was set for a second straight split in the NA LCS.
All three teams will be given until 11:59pm PST on May 18th to sell all rights and legal claim to their LCS/CS berths. Team Impulse was reportedly already on the hunt for a buyer.