After winning ESL One Cologne last weekend, SK Gaming wasn't expecting to have to return part of the cash prize, but this is indeed the case, and for good reason, as they broke the rules regarding technical timeouts.
During the final, the Brazilians asked for a technical break, a pause that's only authorised to replace malfunctioning equipment or to fix a bug, meaning players aren't allowed to talk because they have a different type of break to do this, namely tactical breaks. While they had asked for this technical break, then, the players frantically began to write on their computers to establish a strategy. But the rules of the ESL are clear, as reminded on Reddit by one of its employees, and this kind of behaviour is strictly forbidden. SK has therefore been fined, and will have to return part of the $100,000 USD gained.
"It is not allowed to talk or chat during a technical pause as written in our rules", an ESL employee wrote on Reddit. "The admin caught it quickly and told the team to stop immediately. Due to the violation of the rules, the team will get penalized, which will lead to a prize money deduction."
The amount of the fine has not been disclosed yet but, according to Graham Pitt, the former chief referee of the ESL, the money recovered should be redistributed fairly among the other 15 teams of the tournament.
Should it be a big fine?