Steven R. April 24, 2019
Dragon Gate Team of the LMS is embroiled in a serious scandal.
The Hong Kong-based League of Legends organization has been removed from its regional league due to alleged match fixing. The LMS announced the news on its website.
The LMS received reports that the team was taking measures to ensure it lost games during the 2019 LMS Spring Split. Upon receiving these reports, the LMS conducted an investigation into match fixing by Dragon Gate Team and shared its findings with developer Riot Games.
As a result of the investigation, team owner Wijie Hu has been barred from owning League of Legends teams worldwide. Additionally, jungler Liu “JGY” Yang has received an 18-month ban which will keep him from competing through four splits. Dragon Gate Team coach Fan “yoga” Jiang-Peng and former coach Li “xiaoyu” Xin-Yu have also received 12-month bans.
It is unclear how many matches Dragon Gate Team may have thrown, or which particular matches were impacted. With the removal of Dragon Gate Team, the LMS now has seven competing teams. The LMS uses a relegation system and is likely to promote a new team from the region's Elite Challenger Series.
In a Facebook post, top laner Huang "2188" Jin-Long revealed that he and Liu "Soul" Kai had reported the match fixing to the LMS and discussed how he became aware of it.
“On March 26, the team decided not to include Soul in the game against Alpha Esports, on March 27. I was very displeased, but the management team said there was an accident in Soul's family,” 2188 said. “Soul went on to practice with us normally, and I confronted him on why he is still acting as if nothing happened to his family. He told me that on March 26, the management team asked him to participate in match fixing with JGY for 5,000 RMB a match.”
According to the post, 2188 refused to participate in throwing the match, so a substitute was brought in. 2188 does not believe the substitute player was aware of the match fixing, but Dragon Gate Team did go on to lose the match.
2188 then states the Dragon Gate Team's owner had multiple accounts with betting outlets, which allowed him to place multiple bets against his own team. This allowed him to take in large sums of cash on Dragon Gate Team’s losses, despite the squad standing as a substantial underdog in many cases.
Though 2188 and Soul are unsure on how long the team had been sabotaged, he said “it seems like JGY has participated in match fixing for countless times.”
No Dragon Gate Team player outside JGY received a sanction.
Match fixing has been one of the biggest problems in esports throughout its history. The biggest example of this came in 2010 when 11 professional StarCraft players received criminal sentences in Korea for fixing matches. Those issues have lingered ever since and extend far outside of StarCraft, with incidents popping up in games including Dota 2 and Counter-Strike as well.
Occurring at the highest level of one of League of Legends' most prominent regions, this is one of the highest profile cases in recent years.