The World Esports Association has denied allegations that the organization will demand that WESA teams only play in WESA-sanctioned events in 2018.
In a public statement, WESA's executive chairman and commissioner Ken Hershman said that WESA team's players will not be permitted to play in any other leagues on any day they have to play in the ESL Pro League, but have made no decisions regarding league exclusivity beyond 2017.
"On the days of their pro league matches, WESA teams are not going to play any other matches in 2017," Hershman said. "WESA has not required any of its teams to drop any other leagues either in 2017 or any subsequent years. While no decisions have been made regarding league participation beyond 2017, any decision will be a joint one by all WESA members, including the players. We strongly distance ourselves from any suggestions saying otherwise.”
On Thursday, independent journalist Richard Lewis published a video in which he cited anonymous sources telling him that WESA was looking to make WESA teams exclusive to WESA-sanctioned events beginning in 2018, among several other allegations related to WESA exclusivity.
Among the allegations, Lewis claimed that ESL told popular CS:GO caster Alex "Machine" Richardson that if he accepted a job with the PEA league, ESL would "strongly consider" not hiring him again for an ESL event. WESA did not respond to theScore esports' requests for clarification regarding this allegation.
WESA was formed in in May as a partnership between ESL and eight European CS:GO teams, and aimed to "create an open and inclusive organisation to oversee standardized tournament regulations, player representation as well as revenue sharing for teams." Shortly after forming, FaZe Clan left WESA, leaving the organization with seven teams.
WESA is currently made up of Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team EnVyUs, Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, G2 Esports and mousesports. If WESA were to demand exclusivity from those teams, they would be unable to play in the Esports Championship Series and ELEAGUE among other events, should they not be sanctioned by WESA at a later date.
Discussions of exclusivity in the CS:GO scene have been rampant of late due to a dispute between the Professional eSports Association and the players that make up its member teams' rosters. The PEA planned to run a North American CS:GO league in which its teams would participate, but which would conflict with ESL Pro League, claiming that the players' contracts allowed the teams to choose which events the rosters attended. The PEA eventually permitted the players to choose between PEA's own league and the ESL Pro League, citing a lack of consistent communication on the part of PEA about their league plans. Earlier this week, players voted to stay in the EPL and PEA suspended their plans to run a CS:GO league earlier today.
Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.