Riot’s Incompetent Reputation Cemented By Weak Fnatic & G2 Esports’ Ruling

Fnatic and G2 eSports never had anything to worry about and they knew it. With the release of Riot’s competitive ruling both sides can now audibly breath a sigh of relief – escaping with the lightest of warnings as opposed to the permanent ban many members of the community were clambering for. Riot’s level of bias has stooped to a new low – it’s one rule for some, another rule for others – they really do seem to have a naughty/nice list.

There are a number of different angles from which to consider the Fnatic and G2 Esports case. As a brief overview, it was alleged by the outlawed journalist, Richard Lewis, that Jens Hilgers, a minority stakeholder in G2 Esports, had provided a loan to a company known as Sannpa Ltd, Fnatic’s parent company.

In the evidence presented by Richard Lewis, outlined in a previous article, as security for the loan, Hilgers would have authority over the equity stakes of Fnatic Ltd in the event that Sannpa Ltd were unable to pay back the loan. Riot classified the loan as an indirect financial interest – sounds serious? It’s not at all apparently, Riot’s stance on the issue may have been firm in the past, but when it comes to Fnatic and G2 Esports, a jolly good slap on the wrists will do. Talk about precedent…

Source: lolesports
Source: lolesports

The loan agreement between Hilgers and Fnatic creates a form of indirect financial interest between both parties, which is a violation of the LCS Team Participation Agreement.

Based on this, the League:

Formally warns Hilgers and Fnatic for entering an impermissible indirect financial relationship. This will be accounted for as an aggravating factor in any future transgression of this type.

Mandates reversal of the loan between Hilgers and Fnatic, or the relinquishment of Hilgers’ ownership stake in G2 Esports

Riot Games Official Statement

An outright ban was always going to be out of the question and based on the evidence, would probably have been an irrational decision anyway. A considerable fine would certainly have gone some way towards serving justice, but a formal warning… a formal warning would’ve been a dream outcome for other teams in the past:

Infamously, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles was banned from being an LCS owner with the click of a finger, without even being given the opportunity to plead any form of innocence – therein lies the largest part of the issue. We have clear evidence of what happened with FNC and G2, yet only a warning was issued. We had circumstantial evidence given that Montecristo had breached league regulations with invested interests in both Team Dragon Knight and Renegades, with no conclusive proof and yet they were obliterated in scenes reminiscent of Alderaan’s demolition.

Painfully, Riot seem to be completely aware of their lack of consistency – directly citing the TDK/REN case in their ruling:

“Is this similar to one of the problems in the TDK/REN situation?

“No, there’s a few important differences. First and foremost, Hilgers did not receive any operational control or insight into Fnatic or the Fnatic team, nor did he interact with any of the Fnatic players.

“Secondly, Hilger’s right to Fnatic’s shares is only a byproduct of the loan and is conditional on a financial collapse of Sannpa, and therefore Fnatic, as a company at some point in the future.

“Getting control of Fnatic is not the end goal, and rather the undesired outcome. In the case at hand, it’s a minority owner of a team offering a formal loan to the team’s parent company, for a non-league venture. That said, the loan agreement does present a form of indirect financial interest and both Hilgers and Fnatic recognise the necessity of unwinding the loan.”

Riot Games Official Statement

Hang on one second Riot… if the loan in question is reversible, therefore making it fair for Fnatic and G2 to get out with a slap on the wrist, why on earth was the same leniency not employed in the case of Montecristo and Badawi?

A verbal agreement (we can only assume the agreement is verbal, since Riot has never produced any hard proof in the form of a written document) to resolve Badawi and Montecristo’s ownership issues is just as “reversible”, if not more so than a secured and used loan. Monte is right to call for change:

In reality the entire situation could be summed up with one simple edit of Riot’s statement:

“Is this similar to one of the problems in the TDK/REN situation?

“No, there’s a few important differences. For a start, Monte isn’t involved…”