League of Legends: Riot Games fines Cloud9 $175,000

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League of Legends: Riot Games fines Cloud9 $175,000

Riot Games announced that it would be fining Cloud9 $175,000 earlier today.

The LCS team will also need to pay players additional payouts after Cloud9 violated league rules by issuing stock units to seven players. The news came from an official LCS competitive ruling post on Tuesday night.

The ruling states that over the past sixteen months, Cloud9 had issued equity through its employee stock plan to a total of seven players, resulting in a violation of the League player equity rules. The fine is set at $25,000 per player. Cloud9 must now make plans to pay out certain current and former players in connection with said stock grants. Any players involved must have independent representation in connection with the negotiations.

In November 2017, Riot created a rule that prohibited active players from owning equity. Five of Cloud9’s Summer Split roster — top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, junglers Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Robert “Blaber” Huang, AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam had been granted restricted stock in the team. ESPN also reported that the two former players are mid laner Nicolai “Jensen” Jensen and Andy “Smoothie” Ta.

The fine is the result of Riot issuing a full contract audit of LCS teams after the league was made aware that organizations had been extending or amending contracts without the league being notified.

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The total fine could end up costing Cloud9 between $330,000 and $605,000.

Riot stated that: “The variance stems from the option to renegotiate player contracts. To the extent that Cloud9 renegotiates player contracts, we expect the ultimate amount expended by Cloud9 to be in excess of $605,000, but would not consider those payments a ‘penalty' since Cloud9 is receiving ongoing services in exchange for those payments.”

Cloud9 has 30 days to act on the ruling.

League of Legends: Riot Games fines Cloud9 $175,000
David Hollingsworth
David has written for games media outlets for the last ten years. With his first major esports role being with Esports News UK covering mostly UK League of Legends. David is also a member of the British Esports Association and is an advisor to them on World of Warcraft Esports. More recently David has worked for Esports Insider and Red Bull as an esports journalist. David later became Editor at ESTNN and now leads the current team.