Last week, before League of Legends PG Nationals Week 3 began, the league disciplinary direction communicated the sanction aimed at one of the participating teams and one of its players. According to what has been read, the object of the sanction is the attempt to circumvent the competition regulations in points 2.4.3 and 5.1.2, imposed on GG & Esports and player David “Sky” Koppmann, currently on the roster as a replacement. The GG & Esports therefore received € 2,000 fine, an official warning (in the same way as a warning, which would trigger heavier penalties per second), while Sky was suspended for two championship days.
There was, however, a lot of confusion as to why the two subjects were sanctioned and it is necessary to clarify. Not so much for a critical spirit as to show how esports, albeit not regulated at an institutional level, still live by rules and prohibitions that must be respected, certifying a sort of self-regulation. Let’s examine the two previously mentioned rules, a necessary step to understand what really happened.
2.4.3 – “The teams that have earned PG Nationals qualification through Promotion Tournament, must include at least 3/5 of the Titles in the PG Nationals Roster Active who played the last match of the Promotion Tournament that allowed the championship qualification. The aforementioned players must remain within the Roster for the entire split of PG Nationals; “
When writing a regulation one of the most important properties that it must have is that it is not in any way subject to interpretation. The rules must be written simply and clearly so that they cannot create confusion in those who read them. Because, although the legislator, in this case the direction of the championship, can understand a certain meaning, leaving room for even a single different interpretation can cost dearly in the contestation phase.
Rule 2.4.3 was extremely unclear in its previous formula (indicated in the image below), as it could give two different but equally reliable and logical interpretations. In particular, the definition of Active Owners, as well as the part of the sentence to which it refers. The question that arises almost spontaneously is: Does Active Owners refer to the roster that played the Promotion or to the roster that competes in the PG Nationals?
Why does it change? Because from the first case it follows that a team must take at least three players from the Active Holders of the Promotion roster and insert them in the roster that will play the Promotion, without any specification that they are owners or not. From the second case, however, it would appear that a team must take three players who played the promotion and keep them in the PG Nationals titular roster. Two different nuances that would make a huge difference, however, because they would force a team, in the second case, to always keep three players without the possibility of replacing them, if not for a few games.
Hence the need to rewrite rule 2.4.3 in a clearer way, eliminating all doubts. A late change, undoubtedly, arrived only on the morning of the first playday, but which essentially does not change anything of the original interpretation of the rule desired by the management of the PG Nationals, an interpretation that fully marries the first listed: a team must keep in the presented roster to the competition, whether among the owners or substitutes, at least ⅗ of the owners who played in the Promotion final, for the entire duration of the split. A rule inserted to avoid that an organization could use better players only for the Promotion and then let them go immediately afterwards.
Competitive ruling: GG & Esports and David “Sky” Koppmann
– PG Esports (@PGEsportsIT) January 28, 2021
Having clarified the original interpretation, a question still remains: but what happened with Sky? The problem of GG & Esports with Sky comes not for this interpretation of the rule but for trying to get around the final part, that is the wording “For the entire duration of the split”. Portion of regulation, among other things, which was very clear already in the first writing formula and which certainly did not give rise to any possibility of interpretation: those ⅗ of roster that a team necessarily brings with it from Promotion must remain in the roster for the entire duration of the split.
As reported by PG Esports in the official communication, the result of the investigations carried out, the two parties would have tried to circumvent this obligation, agreeing to then free the Sky player immediately after the first week. The player, in fact, would have signed the contract with the team, receiving part of the payment due to him in advance, agreeing with another team of the regional circuit.
According to some sources Sky would have made an agreement with a Portuguese organization, which disputes the LPLOL, the highest national league, in which he would have gone to play after the first week of PGNATS, also thanks to the fact that the Lusitanian championship would have started after the Italian one. Apparently it would have been the Portuguese team, unaware of the Sky block, to discover Pandora’s box and to make PG Nationals match officials suspicious, asking for insight into the situation. Furthermore, GG & Esports, being the owners of the player’s “card”, would have been willing to request monetary compensation for the transfer of Sky.
“Sorry I didn’t see the fight at the Baron, who stole it?” @ EddieNoise: pic.twitter.com/cJF2lBQd7U
– PG Esports (@PGEsportsIT) January 28, 2021
Why punish Sky too then? Because the player still signed the contract with GG & Beer which obliged him to stay with them, even in the case of a fixed bench. Eventuality that was then confirmed, given the immovability as owner of the toplaner Wondro. Whether or not Sky was aware of rule 2.4.3 does not matter: as in any regulation, ignorance is not a justification for its non-compliance. If there had not been a signed contract, Sky would have been free to go to any other team, leaving GG & Esports the task of figuring out how to solve the ⅗ issue: the contract instead binds him indissolubly to the Italian team that can use it to resolve the issue, while keeping him fixed on the bench may remain there for the entire split.
Both were therefore sanctioned for non-compliance with rule 5.1.2, or the one on collusion (which you can find in full below). It should be noted, therefore, that the team and player were not sanctioned for breaking a rule but for the only, in quotation marks, attempt to circumvent it.
5.1.2 – “Collusion, defined as cooperation or conspiracy to cheat or deceive others. Cooperation or conspiracy can take place between players, teams and / or organizations, and it does implemented solely for the benefit of the parties involved in the cooperation or conspiracy. There collusion includes, but is not limited to, such acts as: […]”
THEimmediate replication of GG & Esports who, in a very mature way, have admitted that they were wrong, taking their own responsibilities. As justification they have adopted their “little experience”, despite the team being managed largely by the same management that had managed the DayDreamers in the last Summer Split and, even if marginally, the YDN in the Spring Split 2020. Comfort that despite the € 2,000 fine, players should not receive penalties: the team ensured that “To avoid any doubt and renew our transparency, we confirm that the player mentioned above, as indeed all the other team members, will be paid for the duration of the competition as indicated in their respective contracts.”
In relation to the Competitive Ruling published by @PGEsportsIT https://t.co/qeCoPXrA79
– GG & Esports (@GGandEsports) January 29, 2021
Personally, we will try to monitor this aspect in order to verify that players have to pay for a mistake in the management of the organization, as has already happened some times in other Italian esports realities.