Following their relegation, Origen has been fined €10,000 by Riot Games after an investigation found that the team's contracts with their head coach, Titus "LeDuck" Hafner and substitute players were not compliant with Riot's Team Participation Agreement, according to a competitive ruling.
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According to the ruling from Riot's Maximilian Peter Schmidt, EU LCS teams are required to abide by the regulations of the jurisdiction where they are based. In Origen's case, Germany.
Schmidt says while contracts for the starting line-up were up to snuff, there were issues with LeDuck's and those of the substitute players. However, by March, Origen had amended the contracts bringing them up to code. According to Schmidt, while no player missed payments, the company payroll was not properly set up.
"We consider failure to comply with applicable regulations for payroll management as an employer to be a significant infraction," the ruling said. "Even if in this case the players did not suffer direct monetary damages, they were exposed to legal risk as Origen failed to observe employer responsibilities. We will hence continue to monitor Origen’s payments to their team members for the duration of the Summer Split to ensure there are no further issues in regard to their remuneration."
Nonetheless, Riot says Origen's failure to provide proper contracts in the first place is a serious issue and that they will continue to observe Origen during the upcoming EU Challenger Series Summer Split.
"In this case we are looking at 9 cases of failure to properly set up payment structures as well as 3 cases of improper employment contracts," the ruling said. "While players were paid, negligence on Origen’s side put both the players and the team at risk. Left unresolved, this would have put all involved parties at risk of non-compliance and potential damage to player welfare."
Origen has faced personnel issues in the past, with several staff members leaving the organization in July, including their general manager, Marck "PapaB3ar" Hernandez. According to reports, the ex-staffers left for a number of reasons including poor management and delayed payments, however a statement from the team called the situation "a clear campaign to discredit Origen."
"Origen has always paid, completely legally, any of its players, 'coaches', 'analysts' and rest of employees,' the statement said. "If someone feels that this is not the case, we invite them to make a legal claim for the debt."
After several poor EU LCS seasons, Origen was relegated to the EU Challenger Series on April 13 after going 0-3 against Giants Gaming in the promotion tournament. Origen went 0-13 in Group B of the 2017 EU LCS Spring Season.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.