Riot Korea on the Griffin/Kanavi Incident: "There hasn’t been any evidence of player tampering."


Riot Games Korea released an interim report on the Griffin/Kanavi Incident.


Kim ‘cvMax’ Dae-ho revealed on his personal stream that there has been foul play regarding Seo ‘Kanavi’ Jin-hyeok’s status of being a player on loan to fully transferring to JDG. Shortly after, Riot KR has announced that they have formed a team with KeSPA to investigate on the matter.


On the 29th (KST), Riot KR has revealed the details of what they found out so far on their official website. TL;DR, there hasn’t been any evidence of player tampering, and Griffin also did not violate the rule regarding the maximum number of players a team can have on loan. Regarding the large transfer fee, the interim report detailed that there has been no such transaction between Griffin and JDG.


It also detailed that following the results of this investigation, Riot KR will be making adequate adjustments to the rules that can be exploited, before the 2020 Spring season begins.


Below are the details on what Riot KR has revealed in their interim report.



Main Issues and LCK Operation Committee’s Decisions


On the matter of whether or not JDG and Kanavi have violated the rules for player tampering.


  • What is ‘player tampering’?
    • Tampering is when a staff from one team contacts a player on a different team and discusses and/or offers a contract. Since this is a term meant to protect the players, if the team that contacted the other player doesn’t report, or even if the player that was contacted does not report to the team, the player may also be subject to penalties.
    • In order to see if there was any tampering, the most important thing is the team that a player is affiliated with, so this fact is of the utmost importance.


  • With regards to Kanavi’s affiliation.
    • Kanavi has signed a 3-year contract with Griffin on February 16th, 2019, and on May 31st, 2019, in agreement with both Griffin and JDG, he has been on a loan to JDG.
    • According to the rules on players being on a loan to other teams, LCK views Kanavi as a Griffin player on loan to JDG, thus Griffin and Kanavi are subject to the ‘loaned player’ rule. However, China’s League of Legends league, LPL, does not have rules regarding players on loan, therefore, in the LPL, Kanavi was officially labeled an import. Furthermore, it was confirmed that in order to play in the LPL until Nov. 2020, he signed a Player Participation Agreement with JDG and submitted the form to the LPL Operations Committee. Although things were very complicated, in order for player growth opportunities and his desire, LCK and LPL have both come in agreement to these terms.
    • Meanwhile, the Operation Committee received the Player Loan Agreement Form between Griffin and JDG, evaluated the form and approved it.


  • Is the conversation between Kanavi and JDG considered player tampering?
    • According to the rules on players on loan, Kanavi, when in talks with JDG about his transfer, was technically still part of Griffin, so in terms of the timeline, it can be considered player tampering.
    • Further investigation into this matter showed that JDG and Griffin have almost come to an agreement on Kanavi’s transfer. Furthermore, JDG told Kanavi about such an agreement, so Kanavi definitely could’ve thought that Griffin was also in agreement. Henceforth, the LCK and the LPL Operations Committee ruled that Kanavi and JDG did not violate any player tampering rules.


On the matter of whether or not Griffin violated the rule for the number of players on loan.


  • Before the 2019 season started, in order to provide more opportunities to the players that were on the team, but not on the starting roster, the Operations Committee have created a rule where players can be on a loan to other teams.
  • The current rules state that ‘only one player listed on the roster’ may be on loan. Since Kanavi and Shin ‘Rather’ Hyeong-seop weren’t on the roster when they went on loan, the aforementioned rule does not apply to them and thus no violations occurred.
  • However, from this incident, the Operations Committee realized that such a rule may be subject to exploitation, so it will be looked at once again and revamped in the near future.


Oct. 2019 - On the matter of whether or not Kanavi’s transfer agreement was finalized by Griffin and JDG.


  • Although there were detailed talks about Kanavi’s transfer between Griffin and JDG, the agreement was never finalized on paper.
  • Because it was never finalized, there has been no evidence of JDG paying Griffin the transfer fee.


Oct. 2019 - On the matter of the contract between Kanavi and JDG, and if there was any foul play by a personnel from Griffin.


  • Regarding the contract between Kanavi and JDG
    • The first initial contract between the two parties was signed in China by Kanavi on Oct. 5th 6th, 2019. However, JDG did not process the contract yet, and Griffin collected the contract from JDG and Kanavi, and has been destroyed.
    • Since then, because of the prior talks between Griffin and JDG, they have changed the terms of the transfer agreement, and created an addendum, which has been signed by Kanavi in China. However, since the main contract was destroyed, both Griffin and JDG claims that the addendum is null.
    • The Operations Committee had no part in this process, and the claims made with regards to the Committee being part of the destruction of the contract is definitely false. 


  • Was there foul play from Griffin with regards to the contractual process between Kanavi and JDG?
    • At this moment, while we’ve directly listened to both parties and are collecting & checking the evidence, testimonies from both parties are vastly different, and since there’s little evidence to support their claims, it’s hard to come to a definite conclusion at the moment. However, the Operations Committee will continue to investigate, and if there’s any legal confirmation from either the court or the prosecution that Griffin threatened Kanavi, there will be severe penalization from the league.

On the matter of whether or not Kanavi, Griffin, and JDG have violated any rules in their agreements and contracts.


  • May, 2019: Did Griffin and Kanavi violate any rules in the League?
    • We, at LCK, respect the players’ freedom in whatever career choices that players make, so through the ‘Player Participation Agreement Form’, we limit the players’ contract to a maximum of 3 years.
    • The Operations Committee has found an unfair ruling that in the Player Loan Agreement that both Griffin and Kanavi signed, they did not include the time he went on loan.
    • Despite knowing this, the fact that Kanavi’s time at Griffin went over 3 years is a violation of the Team Participation Agreement in the LCK.
    • The Operations Committee is currently investigating whether or not this is also happening to the other players, and will be penalizing accordingly after the investigation is over.


  • Oct. 2019: Did the contract between Kanavi and JDG violate the League rules (the time limit on the contract)?
    • Like LCK, LPL also limits their player contracts to 3 years.
    • The investigation shows that despite not being officially contracted, JDG has attempted to unfairly sign a player for 5 years. Regarding this matter, LCK’s Operations Committee will reach out to LPL and ask for their cooperation.


On the matter of minors concluding a contract without a legal guardian.


  • Kanavi was born in November of 2000 (18 years old), and according to the laws in South Korea, he is still considered a minor. In order to legally sign a contract, he needs consensus from his legal guardian.
  • Taking a look at all his contracts so far:
    • The contract written in February, 2019, between Kanavi and Griffin, and the Player Loan Agreement signed in May, 2019, both had consensus from his legal guardian
    • However, he did not have such a consensus with regards to the now-destroyed contract signed by Kanavi in October of 2019, but according to the laws in China, you’re able to sign without a legal guardian’s consensus if you’re 18.

Future Plans


  • As we’ve previously mentioned before, all the suspicions and tips we’ve received that we did not announce at this time are currently under investigation, and we will also be looking into the staff and the players that were playing in the World Championship.


  • Through this investigation, the Operations Committee will be looking into all the possible solutions, and will provide them in the final investigative report.


  • Furthermore, through this incident, we will be adjusting any rules that are flawed, and will be implementing them before the start of the 2020 season.

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