Riot Games has issued a competitive ruling against four players from the Greek Legends League, a top League of Legends competition in Greece, for manipulating match results during the 2019 Winter Split and 2020 Spring Split.
The four involved players are Grigoris “Kobazz” Kovalegos, Panagiotis “Tython” Kobothekras, Thanasis “Tanacee” Vlahogiannis, and Vaios “Lunny” Dimzas, each of whom was found guilty in colluding to manipulate match results with the sole intent of financial gain through betting and soft play.
All players have been permanently suspended from participating in any competitions affiliated with Riot Games. The manipulation occurred in at least four games throughout the two splits in question, according to Riot, who conducted the investigation in cooperation with the Greek Legends League officials.
“Match-fixing has a destructive impact on the competitive integrity of our sport and tarnishes the reputation of the League, Teams, and Players as a whole,” Riot said in its official statement. “In order to protect the European esports ecosystem, we have and will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach towards this behavior and will continue to work with our betting integrity service provider Sportradar and relevant authorities across Europe to take decisive action as necessary,”
According to Riot, all four players have violated rule 8.1.2 of the ERL rulebook. The rule covers all states of collusion which is defined as “cooperation or conspiracy to cheat or deceive others. The cooperation or conspiracy can occur among Players, Teams, and/or Organizations, and can be done to the sole benefit of the parties involved in the cooperation or conspiracy,”
Three of the players also violated rule 8.2.15, which states that no team member or league officials may take direct or indirect part in betting or gambling on any match or result. This rule was found to be violated since the match manipulation was performed by the players to benefit themselves financially.
Match-fixing is not something that we see often within League of Legends, but when we do, it results in dramatic consequences for those involved. Even beyond the players, such acts have consequences but also for the leagues involved and for the integrity of the esports scene as a whole.
In 2019, a big match-fixing scandal within the LPL occurred. LGD Gaming’s former jungler Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie and manager Song “Hesitate” Zi-Yang were both punished for participating in match-fixing and gambling. Condi received an 18-month suspension from competitive play, while Hesitate was given an indefinite ban.