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People: Chris Shim, Geon-Woo “Ninja” Noh, & Jin-Yong “Fury” Lee
Region: North America & Korea
Date of Ruling: 12/18/15
Subject: Penalty; Violation of Global Anti-Tampering Rule
Chris Shim, current owner of NACS team Team Dragon Knights (TDK) tampered with Jin-Yong “Fury” Lee, who was under contract with LCK team Samsung Galaxy, by soliciting him to join TDK. Shim communicated the details of an employment offer through TDK player Geon-Woo “Ninja” Noh, who willingly assisted in soliciting Fury. By tampering with Fury while he was under contract with SSG, Shim and Ninja violated the Interregional Anti-Poaching and Anti-Tampering policy. By engaging in employment discussions and signing with TDK while still under contract with SSG, Fury is also in violation of that policy. Due to these violations, Fury will be suspended for effectively 1 month, Ninja will be suspended effectively for 2 months, and Chris Shim will be ineligible to own any team in 2016. TDK will be fined $10,000 USD for Ninja and Shim’s actions.
Lee “Fury” Jin-Yong was contracted to LCK team Samsung Galaxy through November 30, 2015. In Summer Split of 2015, Geon-woo “Ninja” Noh, per request by Chris Shim, owner of Team Dragon Knights (TDK), reached out to Fury to ask how long Fury’s contract would last and whether he was interested in joining an NA team. Then, Fury asked Ninja to meet in person to discuss the terms of the offer in more detail. During this meeting, Ninja communicated the details of an offer to join TDK. Fury declined the offer.
Finally, in November (while Fury was still under contract with SSG), Ninja invited Fury to the TDK bootcamp gaming house in Korea as a friendly gesture, unaware of any TDK plans to continue negotiations with Fury. There, Shim spoke with Fury about the prospect of Fury joining TDK. In that conversation, Fury agreed not to re-sign with Samsung Galaxy and join TDK once his contract was over. Despite being under contract through November 30, 2015, Fury then signed a contract with TDK on November 5.
This December, in a call with league officials, Ninja admitted guilt by confirming that he wasn’t forced, coerced, or misled by Chris Shim at any point and that he was aware that Fury was under contract when they spoke.
Engaging in discussions about a player’s present or future employment status is expressly forbidden in the Interregional Anti-Poaching and Anti-Tampering policy as well as the LCS, CS and LCK rulesets. Such conversations are damaging to the sanctity of contracts, which represent a commitment to a team for a predetermined length of time. Conversations that undermine those commitments create a chaotic environment for teams and players and undermine the stability of teams. Most importantly, poaching/tampering disincentivize organizations from signing players to multi-year, lucrative contracts — something we encourage and see happening as our ecosystem grows.
In this case, TDK’s disregard for the rules also cheated rule-abiding interested parties of the chance to negotiate with and potentially sign Fury. Shim never reached out to Samsung requesting to speak with Fury.
Players’ contract end-dates are available on lolesports.com, which was communicated publicly in June, so everyone has insight without needing to reach out to a player under contract directly. Fury’s contract end date was included on that list ever since it was published on June 9. Players also go through training at player conferences where they are educated on what constitutes poaching/tampering.
By engaging with TDK in these employment conversations, Fury also violated the Interregional Anti-Poaching and Anti-Tampering policy. Specifically this section:
“…[P]layers under league-recognized contracts cannot solicit or reach out directly to other team members or affiliates of other teams. In the event of prolonged discussions of employment that aren’t sanctioned by the management of both teams, both the party attempting to poach and the player being poached will be subject to penalties at the discretion of league officials.”
PENALTY AND CONTEXT: CHRIS SHIM
The standard for owners has been clearly set for tampering and poaching and Shim unambiguously violated tampering rules. Suspending an owner from the league is not always sufficient as owners can still be affiliated with organizations outside of official league roles and have operational control or influence. To ensure that organizations are held accountable for the actions of their members, we will be issuing the following actions:
- Chris Shim will not be accepted in any official position for any team in all Riot-affiliated competition until January 1, 2017.
- TDK will be fined 10,000 USD.
- In addition, Shim currently owns a stake of TDK. In keeping with this ruling, we will require TDK to replace or resell his stake in the team’s ownership — if they do not do so by Jan 14, 2016, the team will forfeit its Challenger Series spot, including any spot in the qualifier.
PENALTY AND CONTEXT: NINJA
Ninja violated anti-tampering rules and admitted full knowledge of both the fact that Fury was under contract during the times of their conversations and that Ninja knew his actions were against the rules.
- Ninja is suspended from all Riot-affiliated League of Legends competition until March 11, 2016.
PENALTY AND CONTEXT: FURY
Both LCK players and LCS players have been educated on what constitutes tampering, poaching, and violation of the applicable rules during various player conferences and summits, including a conference Fury attended on July 6 this year. In this case, Fury didn’t initiate the conversations but instead just participated in them. Due to this mitigating circumstance, he will receive a reduced punishment.
- Fury is suspended from all Riot-affiliated League of Legends competition until February 11, 2016.