LCK team Griffin has been embroiled in public controversy for some time now and the managerial problems within the organization don’t seem to be quieting down.
It all started in late September, when Griffin announced the departure of head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho, the person whom many credited for the meteoric rise of the organization, making it one of the strongest teams in the LCK in just three splits’ time. According to cvMax who spoke on the incident later, however, the parting of ways was far from amicable. The head coach states that tension arose between him and senior management in one Cho Kyu-nam, who wanted cvMax out of the team after the team had finished second in yet another LCK Finals. Despite cvMax challenging the decision and team’s management willing to give him another chance, the relationship eventually eroded in full and cvMax was let go on September 26.
In the wake of cvMax’s public statement about the situation in Griffin, two players in Park “Viper” Do-hyeon and top Choi “Sword” Sung-won gave interviews to the press, implying what cvMax had said was faulty.
“I think cvMax is spreading lies,” Sword told Naver. “We like him as a person, so we watch his streams occasionally, but he says a lot of things that bother us.”
cvMax had more to revealed, however, and in another follow-up stream he alleged manager Cho discredited him for Griffin’s successes and had the team’s players vote on whether or not cvMax should stay — a vote that did not pass in cvMax’s favor.
In addition, cvMax also spoke of another issue entirely: the loaning of substitute player Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok to LPL’s JD Gaming, a move which cvMax alleged was done without his approval, and committed Kanavi to a five-year contract with JD Gaming — basically a career-long exile in the LPL.
While the LCK started its own investigation, Riot China and the LPL also intervened and this is what they found:
Issue: Does any sort of “private contact” exist between JD Gaming and Kanavi?
Finding: No “private contact” between JD Gaming and Kanavi
Through the investigation, it is certain that JD Gaming and Griffin reached consensus to a certain extent on Kanavi’s move, and JD Gaming also passed the result of this agreement to Kanavi. Therefore, LPL and LCK Operating Committee don’t think there’s any form of “private contact” between JD Gaming and Kanavi.
Issue: Did Griffin contravene Riot Game’s maximum restriction of loaning players?
According to the current regulations of Riot Games, only one player at most can be loaned to other teams. Loaning Kanavi only happened after Shin “Rather” Hyeong-seop, another player on loan from the team, had finished his service, therefore, no regulation has been contravened.
However, considering this regulation may be taken advantage of in the future, the committee will make corresponding adjustments to it.
Issue: In October, 2019, did Griffin and JD Gaming sign the agreement regarding Kanavi’s move?
Finding: No, hence no transfer fee has been made.
Griffin and JD Gaming did have negotiations regarding Kanavi’s move, but they didn’t sign any agreement, so they haven’t made the payment of the transfer fee.
Issue: When JD Gaming was about to sign an agreement with Kanavi, was the senior manager at Griffin improperly involved?
Finding: Investigation still under progress
At present, we don’t have sufficient information to support the investigation in this respect, so no conclusion can be made at this point. However, relevant committees will keep investigating into this issue, but they may request the intervention of authorities with the power to search, and then they will determine whether there’s any improper involvement based on the statement of the parties concerned as well as the materials they submit.
Issue: Did any of Kanavi, Griffin, or JD Gaming, break the regulations regarding the procedure of signing their contract?
Finding: Yes, punishment likely.
Griffin signed the contract on the loan of Kanavi in May, 2019. Meanwhile, they also attempted to sign a contract for over 3 years. This has contravened relevant regulations of Riot Games, and the organization will be punished accordingly.
Besides, even though JD Gaming knew that the contract should not be longer than 3 years, they still intended to sign a 5-year contract. LCK Operating Committee will present relevant materials to LPL Operating Committee and request corresponding follow-up measures.
Issue: Signing a contract with a juvenile without the consent of the legal representative?
Finding: Everything is legal.
Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok was born in November 2000, who is a juvenile under the Korean law and needs the signature of his legal representative when signing a contract.
After the confirmation, on the contract signed in February 2019 between Kanavi and Griffin as well as the loan contract signed in May, 2019 between Kanavi and JD Gaming, there is the signature of Kanavi’s legal representative.
In an investigation in Oct 2019, a damaged agreement and its subsidiary agreement do exist in China. It wasn’t signed by the legal representative but Kanavi himself. However, since an 18-year old is viewed as an adult under Chinese law, this is legal.
The investigation is still ongoing with two matters remaining unresolved: the length of the negotiated contract (five years), which is likely to incur punishment onto both JDG and Griffin, and the question of whether Griffin’s senior management was at fault during the negotiations. According to an official LPL statement, the governing body is “highly concerned” about the issue and will continue investigation. Measures will be announced and taken after the process is completed.