Several organizations that were not invited to the newly announced UK Esports Team Committee have accused the collective of “gatekeeping”, comparing them to the clubs involved in the now-defunct European Super League in football.
Dexerto revealed on July 1, 2021 that several prominent team brands would be later announcing a not-for-profit committee with the goal of “progressing and growing the UK esports industry”.
Seven teams were officially announced as the founding members of the UKETC on July 8, coming together to provide a collective voice for their domestic scene. EXCEL, Fnatic, Vexed, Endpoint, MnM Gaming, London Spitfire, and London Royal Ravens are involved.
Since UKETC became public knowledge, Dexerto have spoken to anonymous sources in 10 organizations outside of the committee about a range of issues connected to it, with only one of them claiming to have received an invite.
There was another issue regarding the criteria set out by the collective for prospective members, as it soon became clear that exceptions were allowed for founding members London Royal Ravens. The ReKTGlobal-owned Call of Duty League franchise was formed in September 2019, therefore not passing the three-year brand history requirement laid out on the official website.
Other entry requirements detailed include having a “respectable track record of competing in UK esports competitions” and a “good reputational history of senior leadership members,” two criteria which multiple sources considered to be subjective, unfair, and by-design in order to “gatekeep”.
Some of the excluded organizations that weren’t invited to the UK Esports Committee compete in the same domestic League of Legends and Counter-strike competitions as those involved. They also meet other requirements laid out by the venture but were left out for reasons unknown to them.
One prominent UK organization excluded from the committee is Guild. Sources close to the org have confirmed to Dexerto that they weren’t even invited. Granted, they haven’t been in existence for three years, but nor have London Royal Ravens, and since forming in 2020, Guild’s presence has grown dramatically.
They have amassed over 500,000 followers across their social media platforms and compete at a high level in Rocket League, Valorant, and Fortnite. They’ve also secured £7.5m in sponsorship revenues over the next three years, with more deals expected to be announced in the coming months. Several sources said they suspect “jealousy” is at play, with some of the teams involved perhaps being threatened by Guild’s rapid growth.
Dexerto has also been informed that there are personal issues between senior-level staff at rival UK esports organizations. Many of the teams we spoke to believe that these issues influenced which orgs were invited to the committee.
Several sources have expressed strong belief that “exclusivity like the European Super League” is being utilized to help grow the committee members, while stifling those outside of it.
The European Super League was proposed by 12 of the biggest clubs in the continent and its format excluded ‘smaller’ teams. The venture only lasted three days, with associations, fans, players, managers, and governments campaigning against it. It was accused of fostering elitism and reducing competitiveness while prioritizing financial gain for the involved teams.
Moving forward, members of the UK Esports Team Committee have publicly encouraged other organizations to apply to join the collective. As stated on their website, they will review applications once every six months. New members will be granted access by receiving the majority vote of all existing UKETC teams.