Major League Gaming has issued a statement that the top two League of Legends teams at this weekend's MLG Summer Championships have had their titles and prize money withheld. "MLG regrets to announce that we will not be awarding 1st or 2nd Place finishes for the Summer Championship League of Legends Event. We have determined that there was collusion between the two final teams, Curse NA and Team Dignitas." This came after the two teams decided, as at least one Curse player has admitted, to play the first round of the final match in "All Random, All Mid" style: a variant on the standard League of Legends gameplay that has all players select random champions and fight only in the middle lane.
MLG and League of Legends devs Riot are said to be in agreement over this decision. "This is in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of MLG's Official Pro Circuit Conduct Rules: 'competitors may not intentionally Forfeit a Game or conspire to manipulate Rankings or Brackets,'" the official statement specified. "As such, both teams have been disqualified, and no placements or prize money will be awarded." Between first and second, the withheld prize money amounts to $40,000.
Curse NA has issued a public apology video since the event. "We feel that we kind of disrespected eSports and the professionalism that it should have," Curse's Brandon "Saintvicious" DiMarco said. "The fans deserve a better show and MLG deserves a better show... and Riot deserves a better show, because they have put so much money and so much backing time and effort into it. We just really want to say that we're sorry, and expect better of us in the future."
Fan opinion over the decision is divided. A senior member of Riot's official forum s has expressed the opinion that neither team violated the very rule they cited for the disqualification. Specifically, he takes issue with the phrasing, "may not intentionally Forfeit a Game or conspire to manipulate Rankings or Brackets." "From what I saw, both were trying," he said. " I saw zero throwing, and both seemed like they WANTED to win, and did not just troll around by ramming themselves into tower."
YouTube commenter HakakaDefrin disagrees. "It's like there was a pole vaulting contest in Olympics, we're at the finals, and the finalists just decide 'hey guys what if instead we were competing on pole dancing come on guys that would be fun!'" he commented. "Even if cheating wasn't involved, if those guys want to be called professionals, and they are even in competition for that season 3 professional program from Riot, they have to act like professionals."
As a fellow spectator, I would concur with the observation that, while the match was played in an unorthodox style, neither side appeared to throw the match. We reached out to MLG and to both teams for clarification on whether the ruling was because of the decision to play ARAM, or if proof of further collusion and/or match fixing was needed to make the decision. A spokesperson for MLG replied that they have "no additional detail to share beyond the statement" linked above. As further details become available to us, we will update this article accordingly.