Thai-based MEGA Esports CEO banned from LoL esports until 2022 for not paying players
League of Legends is, hands down, the biggest esport in the world. It ranks first in viewership numbers; hours watched on streaming services and has some of the biggest tournament pay-outs in the world. That doesn’t always mean that things go as they should though. As any other esport, there are problems in LoL – this incident is one of them.
The MEGA Team is based in Thailand, and the group actually represents the main team in the LST region, but even that didn’t protect them from this. MEGA managed to win the championship of the 2019 Spring Split League SEA. They appeared at LoL Worlds but were eliminated in the play-in stage. That’s still an impressive accomplishment, and one that did not warrant the treatment the players got.
Despite their success, according to reports, the team has not paid its players during the last season. That’s a long time to go without your due pay, and it’s also against Riot’s policies. The reaction was a forceful one – Arnold Tandra, CEO of MEGA Esports was banned from all Riot tournaments for the rest of the year and the next two.
Even then, his participation isn’t set in stone – in an official statement, Riot said: “He will be eligible to participate in the competition again in the year 2022 after formal consideration,” and that the reason for the ban is due to “Maintaining a good environment and ecosystem for our professional players is the priority for the people in charge of the competitive scene.”
In other words, it’s up to a formal review whether or not he will be allowed to participate next year.
While this reaction to players not getting paid is a great step in the right direction – that is to say, protecting the rights of players – it’s not the only change that Riot Games are implementing in the region. As of next year, the LST will be merged with LMS, creating one larger league featuring ten teams.
The new league will cover the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Regardless of all these changes though, Arnold Tandra still won’t be able to participate in any Riot events. As a matter of fact, he won’t be allowed to participate with any team in any region, in any position or role until his ban is reconsidered in 2022 – that’s quite the harsh sentence, and it’s one that’s appropriate for not paying players.
In the esports world, players are far too often neglected – both when it comes to their rights and their health and safety. Game publishers can’t fully stop this from happening, but they can take steps – like this one! Other companies like Blizzard have also made efforts towards this goal – Blizzard for example severely reduced the number of esports tournaments that players participate in per season in order to reduce the stress and impact competitive playing has on them.