Team Dignitas and Curse NA have been disqualified from the Major League Gaming (MLG) League of Legends Summer Championship finals for collusion.
The $40,000 prize money and amassed Circuit Points will now be split between the teams who finished third, fourth, fifth and six – including Dynamic and Orbit Gaming. Curse have since apologised – you can watch the video below.
Curse and Dignitas decided to play an All Random All Mid (ARAM) game in the final, where each player picks a random character in the online PC RTS game and heads to the map’s middle lane to take part in an amateur brawl – not the kind of fight you’d expect between pro gamers.
There are also reports circulating online that Curse and Dignitas spoke to one another before the final and agreed to split the $40,000 first prize between themselves, no matter who won.
MLG’s SVP Lee Chen said: “To be clear here folks, the collusion had nothing to do with the ARAM. [Both teams] conspired to split prize money.”
A statement on the MLG website read: “We regret to announce that we will not be awarding first or second place finishes for the Summer Championship League of Legends Event. We have determined that there was collusion between the two final teams, Curse NA and Team Dignitas.
“This is in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of MLG’s Official Pro Circuit Conduct Rules: ‘Competitors may not intentionally forfeit a game or conspire to manipulate rankings or brackets.’ As such, both teams have been disqualified, and no placements or prize money will be awarded.
“[League of Legends developer] Riot has agreed with this decision and, in accordance with their Season 2 rules on Unsportsmanlike Conduct, will not be awarding Circuit Points to either team. The third and fourth place teams will receive the prize money and Circuit Points they have earned, and all other results stand.”
MLG’s EVP of operations Adam Apicella said on Twitter: “The collusion was planned and discussed in a public, crowded setting. The entire venue was aware of it. Not happy to be in this position.
“We had them play it out because we did not know what the decision was until we gathered all of the evidence. MLG will award the full prize money ($40,000) to teams ranked 3, 4, 5, 6.
Curse have since apologised:
They said: “We want to apologise to MLG, the fans and Riot. We feel that we kind of disrespected esports and the professionalism it should have and we’re really sorry for that. The fans and MLG deserve a better show, and Riot deserves a better show because they put so much money, time and effort into it. I want to say sorry and expect better of us in the future.”
Curse followed the above video with another (below), clarifying the situation. They now deny that they decided to split the prize money with Team Dignitas and said that ‘anything outside colluding to play an ARAM game is false’.
Team Dignitas later put this statement up on their website: “It has come to our attention that during yesterday’s Major League Gaming Summer Championship League of Legends Event, our League of Legends team have engaged in misconduct. We have found at least some of the accusations to be valid. As a consequence, we have decided to investigate the situation fully to ascertain all the facts. We will release a statement describing our responsive actions within two days.”
Michael O’Dell, MD of Team Dignitas, added: “Team Dignitas, our members and all of our partners have never, and will never, stand for conduct that disrespects our team values: Merit, prestige, worth and dignity.”
The tournament was held in Raleigh, North Carolina.
You can watch the start of the match here, in gameplay form with commentary, to see how Curse and Team Dignitas actually spoiled the final:
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.