Another week, another clash regarding the ownership of multiple teams in esports contests.
This week, ESL has taken a tough stance, banning academy teams from competing in its events. This has meant that the several academy teams registered for European qualifiers this weekend for ESL One Cologne are no longer able to compete.
ESL’s announcement at the weekend has plainly stated the organisation’s mindset: an organisation is only allowed to field a single team at each tournament, and this includes qualifiers.
This means that academy teams aren’t eligible at events where their parent teams are competing, which could severely hamper successful academy teams.
This may seem like a strict approach to preventing collusion or conflicts of interest, but it doesn’t address the issue of multiple ownership by different legal entities owned by a larger shell. This means that Natus Vincere, SK Gaming and Virtus Pro, all competing at ESL One Cologne, are totally okay despite all being owned or having a financial relationship with ESForce Holdings.
However, Fnatic Academy, who have had recent success at European events, will not be able to compete at ESL One Cologne despite recent wins, as Fnatic are already invited to the event.
The ruling can be circumvented in the organisation provides, in writing, confirmation that if the team qualifies for the main event then, before the tournament, they’ll release or sell the academy team.