UPDATED Oct. 9, 00:50 CET: Shortly after the allegations of draft strategies being leaked by BYG's mid laner Chien "Maoan" Mao-An surfaced, Riot Games issued a competitive ruling, suspending the player for the remainder of Worlds 2021.
The Director of Operations at LoL Esports, Tom Martell, provided the following statement:
"During the 2021 World Championship, Maoan violated Rule 9.3 of the 2021 World Championship Ruleset, which prohibits association with gambling. Competitive integrity is the foundation for our sport and we take all violations of our ruleset extremely seriously. The Competitive Operations team obtained definitive evidence showing Maoan provided inside information to a friend for the purposes of wagering on today's match. Maoan will be suspended for the remained fo the 2021 World Champinoship, and may be subject to additional penalties following a full investigation."
UPDATED Oct. 9, 00:54 CET: Alongside Riot's ruling, Reirachu provided further clarity on the incident. According to her summary tweets, Maoan had confessed to BYG owner DinTer that he had leaked strats. DinTer also posted an apology on his personal Facebook, hoping Maoan be able to play against HLE on Saturday, Oct. 9 (impossible due to Riot's ruling).
Following the conclusion of day 4 of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship Play-in, allegations have surfaced against Beyond Gaming mid laner Chien "Maoan" Mao-An for leaking draft strategies for betting purposes. PCS caster and host Jenny "Reirachu" Lee tweeted about the situation, stating that Xue "DinTer" Hong-Wei, the owner of BYG, turned on his stream earlier in the day to say that he would be firing Maoan. Other rumors apparently point towards Maoan not being the only offender on BYG and that the team is investigating the extent of the allegations.
There has been no statement released from Beyond Gaming or Riot Games, though Inven Global has reached out to Riot Games for comment.
The controversy follows an exciting reverse sweep victory for Beyond Gaming against Galatasaray Esports in the first round of the Play-in knockout stage. BYG is now slated to play against Hanwha Life Esports tomorrow for a spot in the group stage for the main event of Worlds 2021, though as of now, the future of the team and the match itself are uncertain. BYG's roster fields two top laners in Wu "Liang" Liang-Te and Hsieh "PK" Yu-Ting, so it is possible that if the allegations against only Maoan are true that BYG could play one of its top laners in the mid lane should Maoan be suspended or removed from the team and/or tournament.
Matchfixing not a precedent in League of Legends
This is not the first time matchfixing, draft strategy leaks or other betting allegations have surfaced and/or come to fruition in the League of Legends esports scene.
Earlier this year, 38 players across China's League of Legends Professional League and League of Legends Developmental League were banned or suspended, including 12 lifetime bans. A month prior, the LDL had taken a break entirely to combat the rampant matchfixing present throughout the league.
Even before the LDL's suspension of schedule, matchfixing had been everpresent. A few weeks FunPlus PhoeniX's jungler Zhou "Bo" Yang-bo turned himself into officials, stating that he had been coerced into matchfixing. Both Bo and FPX agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation.
In March 2020, LPL organization Rogue Warriors terminated its contract with jungler Wang "WeiYan" Xiang due to matchfixing.
Nearly one year prior, three players on the organization's LDL squad Rogue Warriors Shark were suspended from competitive tournaments for 18 months each for matchfixing.
While other players have been issued matchfixing bans in previous instances for leaking draft strategies, Riot Games' statement defines Maoan's ban as being due to gambling by association. This story will continue to be updated with any more information that becomes public regarding the situation.