Their failed run through the Promotion Tournament won't be the end of Origen's woes, as it turns out, as a surprise competitive ruling from Riot was passed down today that is certainly unfavorable to the beleaguered organization. The ruling accused Origen of signing improper employment contracts with both their head coach as well as their substitute players and fined them ten thousand euros in addition to mandating they pay the damages on the improper contracts.
The ruling comes about due to the contract requirements that the European branch of Riot Games mandates from their teams. As the EU LCS takes place in Germany, all player contracts are required to comply with German contract law which, amongst other things, mandates that the employer withholds wages for the purposes of paying income tax, health insurance, as well as contributions to the social security system. Origen didn't set up the proper contracts, and have thus been fined not only the ten thousand euros, but have also been forced to amend the player contracts to reflect the legal mandates in place. Fortunately for Origen, they complied with the Riot investigation and were quick to deal with the issue, and thus avoided further trouble, as the issue was resolved before any of the players experienced any direct monetary harm.
Senior League Operations Coordinator Maximillian Peter Schmidt summarized the reason behind harsh punishment, despite the lack of palpable damages to the players, when he said the following:
“In this case we are looking at 9 cases of failure to properly set up payment structures as well as 3 cases of improper employment contracts. While players were paid, negligence on Origen’s side put both the players and the team at risk. Left unresolved, this would have put all involved parties at risk of non-compliance and potential damage to player welfare.“
Financial mismanagement is, unfortunately, far from uncommon amongst League of Legends teams. While the largest organizations have, thus far, largely managed to comply with proper contract law, the same cannot be said about the smaller teams that make up the Challenger leagues. Just last year the European Challenger team HUMA was banned from Riot-sanctioned events due to missed payments to players. Hopefully, as Esports continues to grow both in size and professionalism, such examples will become less and less common.