Luminosity vs. SK Gaming. Fight! Fight! Fight!

May 31, 2016 - Esports

A contract dispute shook the CS:GO world after an article in ESPN came out, accusing the management of SK Gaming of trying to poach Luminosity players, as well as some of their staff.

As it often is in situations like this, the other side of the argument looks to be the bad guy, depending on who’s talking. The owner of Luminosity, Steve, claims that the SK Gaming representatives tried to unlawfully con, bribe, and manipulate the players into signing a contract with SK Gaming, despite a Letter of Intent Luminosity players had with their current organization, promising to sign up until 2017.

The letter, signed on the 10th of December, 2015, stated that Luminosity was supposed to offer their players a new contract in two weeks. It’s a fact that they didn’t do that; however, Luminosity in-game leader FalleN claims that the owner still kept fulfilling his commitments to the players. With tournaments coming up, the players claim, they weren’t too worried about it because they trusted their organisation.

Enter SK Gaming. The owner, Alexander Müler, contacted FalleN on February 3rd, expressing his interest in signing the team. According to FalleN himself in this article, the player informed Mr. Müller that they were still contracted to Luminosity, so further inquiries should be directed to the owner of the team. Then, FalleN claims that he had informed his teammates about the possible offer. Despite his objections, his teammates decided to enter negotiations with SK Gaming. The German organization offered Luminosity players some great terms and they finally signed a contract before MLG: Columbus started.

Later, after winning the Major tournament, Luminosity had something to worry about. What if their owner refuses to pay out their winnings after they go to SK? This was besides the point, because MLG organizer agreed to pay their share of the winnings directly to the players instead of going through the organization. Even if that failed, SK promised to pay the money.

It seems, that the reason why Luminosity stayed wasn’t because they were worried about money. They stayed because they were feeling guilty for betraying their owner, who now had way more funds after the MLG win, and could provide them with way more than he could have before as a result.

The problem was that the players signed a contract with SK Gaming, while they only had a Letter of Intent with Luminosity. In his statement concerning the situation, FalleN continuously mentions that the letter was binding. After getting a copy of the letter from the players and getting their lawyers to look it over, SK Gaming managers determined that it wasn’t binding. Technically, this sounds logical to me, because stating intent is not the same as actually doing it (signing a contract). Keeping in mind that the players weren’t actually offered a contract by Luminosity in the 14 days required by the letter of intent, and that they actually signed a contract with SK Gaming later, it seems that SK Gaming is in the right here. At least technically.

We will never fully know what actually happened, as both organizations are in face-saving mode, working the PR in their favor. The facts of the matter are: Luminosity had a letter of intent, where they should have been offered a contract extension on December 24th. They weren’t. In fact, no such extension was offered on the 3rd of February, when SK Gaming contacted FalleN. SK Gaming were trying to sign Luminosity players after their current contract runs out in July. Luminosity signed said contract. Luminosity decided not to honor it. SK Gaming feels cheated. The Luminosity Gaming organization feels as if their players are being forcefully poached. Luminosity had almost THREE MONTHS to extend the contract with the players, they didn’t. These are the facts. The rest? Well, that’s up to you. There is no right side in this argument, we can understand both sides, so should you, because these situations are never only black and white.

If you want to know more about this subject, please read the original article in ESPN and FalleN's official response on Dailydot. You could also watch Thorin's videos concerning this subject for a diffeent point of view.