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esports
League of Legends

Riot Games responds to accusations of bias in OPL

"We take the suggestion of being biased towards teams over players very seriously."

  • Text: Sam Bishop
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League of Legends' Oceanic Pro League has been a subject of controversy this year, with a number of issues involving the team Tainted Minds, with former player Tristan "Cake" Côté-Lalumière claiming via Twitter that Riot's head of Oceanic esports, Daniel Ringland, was biased towards his team and against him as a player during a dispute between himself and Tainted Minds.

Riot Games has since responded to the controversy involving Tainted Minds, explaining in depth their point of view on the situation and explaining their actions.

In the opening section, Riot Games explains what they did and how they acted: "Since becoming aware of the situation," meaning the contract disputes between Tainted Minds and some players, "we have been working with both parties to reach a mutual resolution. We have not publicly commented on the situation in order to allow those involved to work through the dispute."

"Throughout the discussion, we have spent time listening to the allegations from both sides, gathering information to enable us to support the process. We ultimately determined the issues were contract disputes between the players and team. Riot holds the contracts with the teams (the organisation), not the players. Player contracts exist between the players and the team."

"Our contract provides guidelines around housing occupancy, not general living standards, these are set in the contracts between teams and players. In addition, our contract stipulates a 14-day timeframe for players to be paid from the day Riot's match stipend is paid to the team. Prior to 7 March, at no point were we made aware that players were not receiving the Riot stipend. While Tainted Minds has informed us that as of 16 March all payments to players have been made, we are now in the process of reviewing the circumstances around why the payments were late."

The statement also says that Riot Games is committed to ensuring the "fair and proper treatment of players," and that they want the Oceanic Pro League to thrive, hence they take accusations of bias incredibly seriously, as they want "the best for all those who take part."

One of the accusations by Cake was that Riot had moved the resolution meeting multiple times so that investor in Tainted Minds, John McRae, could have more of a chance of sorting the situation in favour of the team, and making a better impression. Riot, however, claims that the meeting was moved once because they wanted both parties to "try a different tack to reach a mutually beneficial result," and the second time was because not all parties were free. They also claimed that their role was simply to bring both of the parties together "in a safe, neutral environment."

Riot also explained why they allowed Tainted Minds to have 13 players on their database, more than they're allowed. "On 16 February, the disputes between the parties were still ongoing, and there was an obligation to play in the OPL," they wrote. "Due to the unprecedented circumstances, we allowed Tainted Minds to temporarily add more than 10 players on its roster in the public Global Contract Database. The reasoning behind the allowance is two-fold; firstly to allow those involved in the dispute time to reach a resolution, and secondly to allow the organisation to field a temporary team for week 5 of the OPL."

"After the games were played, Tainted Minds elected to remove Bluz0r, LowSkillPlayer and xLuke, to remain rule compliant. The process of removing players from the database consists of removing an entire row from the master spreadsheet. This has exposed a flaw in our tool as it doesn't register it as an update in the data (reported at the top of each sheet), this only registers when editing individual cells. We are working with the database owner to fix this issue, to avoid any future confusion around when updates are made."

Riot Games also said in the post that their communication on the entire situation should have been much clearer, and that they'll try to do better in the future.

League of Legends
Photo: Riot Games