Inven Global intends to follow through with the story and its development. Our editorial team will be updating the article with credible sources and statements and has restructured the article from its original format for clarity.
[UPDATED 04/29/2020] Tim Reichert, Managing Director of Schalke 04 Esports issued a statement regarding TSM's previous contact of their former player Upset:
"In 2018, TSM approached us with an offer for Upset, which we declined.
[UPDATED 04/28/2020] TSM's President Leena Xu issued a statement regarding the discord messages about alleged player contracts:
"The whole point of the TSM discord messages to our fans was to show that we DID try for these big roster moves. We did not approach the players directly, 100% went through management. The buyout that we offered was to Clutch and Shalke, not to the players themselves. And I felt ok talking about these incidents since they are really far in the past (Clutch is no longer even in the LCS anymore.) At any point if there were any issues teams would have reported TSM to Riot. In both incidents, the past ones and the most recent trade, we worked with the teams and Riot to make sure everything is above board."
Leena Xu, President of esports organization TSM, faces controversy after screenshots from the team's Discord were used in a video by Duncan "Thorin" Shields, in which he shared his own opinion on subjects like conflicts of interest.
Leena mentioned in her TwitLonger response to the subject that her intentions were to show TSM’s dedication to winning and being a competitive org. The aforementioned screenshots mirror that intention, naming star players like Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme and Elias "Upset" Lipp as potential candidates for their 2020 roster, two specific callouts from the TSM president.
Here, Xu states TSM’s General Manager Parth "Parth" Naidu had an interest in at-the-time Schalke 04 AD Carry Upset, but the organizations did not reach a deal after TSM made an offer. They also reached out to Clutch Gaming for Vulcan, but reached the same conclusion. Vulcan eventually landed on Cloud9 after a $1.5 million buyout.
This type of message - TSM’s commitment to improving - is often sent by TSM to their fans, through their in-house content and otherwise. TSM’s head coach, Zhang "Peter" "Peter Zhang" Yi, shared a similar story earlier this split, as he detailed big plans TSM had for him and the entire coaching staff, which ultimately fell through. Despite not securing the assets needed for their intended operations, TSM is sharing its dedication to being a winning org through various outlets, Discord being one of them.
This specific message regarding the involvement of TSM approaching EU players brought up a cause for apprehension, and it was highlighted by Thorin in his video as problematic. While the above messages specifically mention contact with the players’ organizations - later backed up in Tim Reichert’s statement - this message does not.
Inven Global sources have shed light on the situation, speaking out about how organizations across the globe often go unpunished for the ways in which they circumnavigate certain rules when seeking to sign a player.
In League of Legends esports, Riot Games has specific guidelines around “poaching,” which is defined as an act of bypassing an organization and speaking directly to a player under contract. "All player contracts must be submitted to Riot Games for approval. When approved, Riot adds the contract to the publicly available contract database. Only contracts added to the database will be protected by Riot's poaching rules." Xu's admittance to approaching players in Europe under contract raises questions regarding a violation of Riot Games' poaching rule.
This article will continue to be updated as new details regarding the situation surface. Inven Global has reached out to TSM and Riot Games for comment.
For more LoL Esports content, head over to our dedicated League of Legends section!
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.
level 1 BlueberryWine
Holy how did three idiots come together to write this article. Did they even read their own definition of poaching? Or are they so braindead they only listen to what Thorin had to say. I mean in all the screenshots they post, they defend TSM as it clearly shows Leena reaching out to the orgs (S04 and Clutch) rather than the players. They post a definition of 'poaching' like it's the dagger in the article, but it only shows how stupid the three writers are. JFC
level 1 Sky_WatererSo what I understand from this article is that Inven global is an utter joke and I should delete my account and hide all future articles from Inven?Please tell me that these writers wrote this while blackout drunk. There's no way you can butcher the definition of poaching this badly, this is willfully ignorant and plainly immoral.Inven and their writers are a f***ing joke.