Dexerto spoke with multiple sources about the situation involving FaZe Clan’s CS:GO team and their attempt to use Kristian ‘k0nfig’ Wienecke at BLAST Premier Spring Groups, to explain everything that happened.
FaZe were in a race against time to find an emergency substitute for the BLAST Premier Spring Groups after being informed that they would be unable to compete with k0nfig on the basis that he was already registered on Heroic’s roster for the tournament. Their first match is against Complexity on Friday, January 20.
The decision, which came after protests from other BLAST Premier teams, caught FaZe’s players by surprise. k0nfig took part in media day on January 18 and was ready to practice with the team and play at the event.
Sources told Dexerto that BLAST informed FaZe’s team over a week ago that k0nfig would be added to the team’s accreditation list and given access to their practice room. The Danish player, who is currently a free agent, would be allowed to play in the tournament instead of Håvard ‘rain’ Nygaard if necessary.
On January 18, FaZe announced that the Norwegian player would have to sit out the event to be present for the birth of his child.
FaZe were confident that they would be able to field k0nfig in the tournament. But everything suggests that the tournament organizer gave FaZe the green light without checking whether k0nfig was already registered by another team.
In an initial communication to all 12 partner teams on December 18, BLAST gave a January 3 deadline to submit their rosters for the BLAST Premier Spring Groups without specifying an hour, Dexerto has learned. Heroic had no intention of registering k0nfig as a player for the event, but their submission of Niels Christian ‘NaToSaphiX’ Sillassen as a substitute on the evening of January 3 was rejected by BLAST, who claimed it was done past the deadline, sources said.
Another source noted, however, that all teams were notified again on January 3 about the roster lock and sent a form to fill out if they wished to make any changes. The message stated that there was a deadline of 4PM CET.
Because Heroic tried to change their lineup past this deadline, it remained the same from the previous event, the BLAST Premier World Final, where k0nfig stood in for Martin ‘stavn’ Lund.
According to FaZe star Robin ‘ropz’ Kool, k0nfig “had no idea” he was on Heroic’s roster for the tournament and is not supposed to be on it.
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On his stream, Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer said that he didn’t know he was registered as a substitute for FaZe. He cannot attend the event as he will be traveling for his birthday.
The 2022 version of the BLAST Premier rulebook states that teams can be granted an emergency substitute after the submission of the roster “due to issues such as illness, injury, and travel disruption”. BLAST reserves the right to accept or deny any such requests on a case-by-case basis. The rulebook stresses that “replacements cannot be a participant who is active on another pro roster which is participating in the tournament.”
FaZe have since announced that they will be playing with Patrick ‘es3tag’ Hansen as a stand-in at the event. The Danish player has been on NIP’s bench since the end of December and is not registered on the team’s roster for this event.
BLAST responds to controversy
BLAST has issued a statement to address what it described as “the confusion” surrounding FaZe’s registration of k0nfig as an emergency replacement. The tournament organizer said that “at the beginning of the year”, FaZe submitted a request to play with k0nfig and that such request “was denied as the player was registered on another team’s roster for the event.”
This directly contradicts the players’ account of the episode. BLAST does not explain why the team claimed it was told that it could play with k0nfig several days ago (Dexerto sources said the team was told over a week ago) or why the Danish player was allowed to take part in media day on January 18. It was only late that day, after a number of BLAST partner teams raised the issue, that the tournament organizer convened to make a ruling on this matter, which was announced this morning.
“After looking into the incident internally, we identified miscommunication and a lack of clarity from BLAST on the roster lock timings and k0nfig’s eligibility to play in Spring Groups,” BLAST stated.
“This of course is not how we typically operate and we will be looking into strengthening processes and communication with teams, specifically around roster locks.”
BLAST also commented on the conflict of interest concerns surrounding FaZe’s use of a player who is contracted to another team that is also attending the event, NIP. Should the two teams face each other in the gauntlet stage, es3tag will not be able to play, forcing FaZe to find an alternative. Substitute coach Edward ‘Eddie’ Han could play for the team, as could rain or Robert ‘RobbaN’ Dahlström if either is back by then.