Cloud9 receives $175,000 fine for breaking LCS contract rules - Dexerto
League of Legends

Cloud9 receives $175,000 fine for breaking LCS contract rules

Published: 20/Nov/2019 0:59 Updated: 20/Nov/2019 1:32

by Isaac McIntyre


Riot Games has issued LCS franchise Cloud9 with a $175,000 fine, which could rise to more than $600,000, after the organization was found to have issued undisclosed stocks to seven players over an extended sixteen month period.

Riot alleges that C9’s extended and consistent payments through stock equity were left out of the team’s contract summary sheets, which are submitted to the league ahead of each season, and C9 failed to notify the league at any time.

C9 also reportedly failed to update Riot and the official governing bodies during a second, week-long period from June 21, 2019, which was aimed at “re-establishing a baseline of accurate information” around player payments in the LCS.

During that period, several LCS teams took the opportunity to provide updated paperwork, and that group included C9.

The org did not, however, attach information regarding the stock payments in any of the submitted contract amendments, summary sheets, and documents labeled as RSUs (grants of Restricted Stock Units).

Cloud9 could be forced to pay more than $600,000 for the undisclosed equity payments.

According to Riot, the existence of the RSU documents “should have been highlighted and escalated,” but due to a “clerical error” were not noted in June. One month later, the RSU documents in question were flagged, and reviewed.

Cloud9 ownership was given a chance to explain their situation in an interview with Riot, where they stated they “did not understand that the RSUs [were] against League rules” and said they were “unaware of the rule change.”

The org’s ownership also added that “RSUs were not part of the contract process” which meant “day-to-day staff may not have had visibility on the RSUs, and upper management was not reviewing summary sheets.”

Due to the mostly-banned nature of the equity stock payments to seven C9 employees, and the continued and extended period of retaining this information from officials, the franchise has been issued a $175,000 fine as punishment.

C9’s ownership said they didn’t understand RSU payments were against league rules.

The $175,000 total comes from seven $25,000 fines, one for each player found to have been receiving the undisclosed equity through C9’s employee stock plan.

The organization, which has yet to respond publicly, has also been ordered to make restitution payments to current and former players who were remunerated with stock grants, and organize the sale of existing stock grants for current players.

This added restitution plan could see C9’s approximately financial punishment rise from $175,00 to between $330,000 and $650,000, dependant on the payments for past and present players, and sales of the equity stocks.

Riot’s competitive ruling just a day after league MVP Svenskeren departed Cloud9.

C9’s financial punishment marks one of the biggest fines Riot has ever handed down, both in the LCS, and in any of their global leagues.

The fine dwarfs CLG’s infamous $12,000 punishment for the attempted poaching of Darshan ‘Darshan’ Upadhyaya and William ‘Scarra’ Li in 2014, as well as Azubu Frost’s $30,000 fine for Jang ‘Woong’ Gun-woong cheating at Worlds in 2012.

Riot Games confirmed the $175,000 fine would be donated to charity.

League of Legends

TSM Spica leaks major changes to LCS 2021 format

Published: 5/Dec/2020 15:40

by Luke Edwards


TSM jungler Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu appeared to leak major changes to the format of the LCS 2021 season on his livestream. With LCS bosses keen to rejuvenate the competition, the future of the Spring Split could be down the drain.

Since 2015, the LCS season has been defined by two splits: spring and summer. Each split has a double round-robin, where every team plays each other twice, and the top 6 go through to a play-off series. Simple.

However, major changes to the LCS structure have been rumored to be in the works. Travis Gafford reported LCS powers were considering binning off the spring split altogether, with the season being changed instead to one long split.

The format would mean every team would play a total of 45 regular-season games, up by nine from the current amount of 36. There would also be a small play-off tournament midway through to determine the region’s representatives at the Mid-Season Invitational.

Riot Games
After a huge shake-up in rosters, including Cloud9’s signing of Perkz from G2, could the next major change be the format?

TSM Spica leaks changes to LCS 2021 format

Live on stream, Spica appeared to suggest the rumored changes to the LCS format were indeed true. He said:

“There’s 45 games next split and I’ll probably be on Jarvan all 45 games.”

TSM’s ex-coach Parth seemed to back up Spica, as he wrote in Twitch chat: “spring = 18 games, summer = 27 games.”

Spica then lightly suggested there might be some bad consequences for Parth, as he joked: “Yo Parth, you can’t leak, man. You know, I might need to take you on a walk.”

Spica’s suggestion of there being 45 games “next split”, partially backed up by Parth, means Gafford’s sources are likely spot on.

Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games
Despite winning the LCS 2020 Spring Split, Cloud9 failed to qualify for Worlds.

The changes to the format come as little surprise. When the original Worlds Qualification system – where teams could earn ‘circuit points’ in spring to boost their chances of qualifying – was scrapped, Spring Split became redundant for anyone bar the winner.

This was punctuated by the 2020 Spring champions Cloud9 ultimately failing to reach Worlds. Making the LCS a streamlined, season-long affair would mean teams would be judged on their achievements across the year, rather than just over a few months.

Whether the other rumoured changes, such as the mid-season play-off for MSI, a reduced academy season, and a pre-season tournament, will also materialize remains to be seen.

Regardless, the merging of the spring and summer splits would be one of the biggest shakeups in the history of the LCS.