Fnatic And G2 Esports Should Be Banished But Will Walk Away Scot-Free

The white knight of eSports journalism, the outlawed Richard Lewis or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named within League of Legends communities, has dropped the mic on yet another potential eSports scandal in the making. In his latest video, Lewis delves into the behind the scenes dealings between Jens Hilger, co-owner of G2 and Fnatic’s parent company SANNPA LIMITED.

The documents uncovered by Richard Lewis’ army of researchers suggest a financial tie between Fnatic and G2, which according to rule 3.1 in the LCS rulebook, having owners with financial ties between more than one team is a conflict of interest and can lead to the ban of both teams. Financial ties between organisations is often cited as one of of the primary causes for Renegades and TDK receiving permanent bans from the LCS.

Source: Lolesports
Source: Lolesports

Fnatic and G2 operate within both competitive League of Legends and CS:GO, it’s unclear whether Richard Lewis meant for his findings to apply to the LCS or the CS:GO circuit, frequently suggesting a lack of competitive integrity as opposed to citing any direct rule violations. Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, one of the co-owners punished as part of the Renegades/TDK ruling, seems to think there is certainly grounds to call for Riot to punish Fnatic and G2 eSports.

The important parts from the document in question are:

Source: Companieshouse.gov
Source: Companieshouse.gov
Source: Companieshouse.gov
Source: Companieshouse.gov

Who doesn’t love sinking their teeth into some heavy legal documents of an afternoon? Despite my many hours spent playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, I do not profess myself to be a business expert – thankfully Richard Lewis sought expert consultation to shed some insight.

Rule 3.1 in the LCS rulebook states that:

“No Team Owner or Team Manager or Affiliate of an Owner may own or control, directly or indirectly, or have a direct (e.g., ownership) or indirect (e.g., a contractual arrangement) financial interest, or be an employee or contractor of, more than one League of Legends team in a professional eSports league.

Any buyback provision, right of first purchase, or similar interest in a team shall be treated as a controlling interest in such team for the purposes of enforcing ownership restrictions.”

The loan outlined in this document, indebted to Jens Hilgers, specifies under point 17.1 that G2’s co-owner does in fact have influence over decisions made by Fnatic. It’s up to the lawyers of the two teams to prove this loan is not an indirect financial interest. If they are proven to be in violation of the rules, it would certainly be interesting to see how or if Riot would move to punish the best team in EU along with one of the oldest and most successful eSports organisations in the world.

They certainly have good grounds to begin pleading their case, since the deal was made, the two teams haven’t demonstrated any behaviour that would compromise Riot’s “competitive integrity“. G2 even beat Fnatic when a draw would’ve meant 3rd spot for Fnatic and an “easier” quarterfinals matchup.

Source: Riot Games Flickr
Source: Riot Games Flickr

Despite the baying for heavyweight blood to be spilled, it’s almost unthinkable that Riot would ban out the two biggest teams in Europe. There’s plentiful previous evidence that would suggest Riot apply rules selectively, to suit their purpose. A far more likely outcome is that Riot will take a leaf out of Valve’s book of dealing with sub-optimal scandals – do nothing and wait for it all to blow over – everyone will forget anyway… everyone, but MonteCristo.