Less than two weeks after the World Esports Association was revealed to the world, Faze Clan, one of its founding members, has left. The organization posted a statement on its Facebook page saying that while it was initially enthusiastic about WESA and its goals, it has since decided that the association “has lots of challenges to overcome and we feel that right now it's not the best place for us to be.”
“WESA is a pro-active initiative with a big vision. We clearly see the upside of building a product that aligns the pro scene and provides stability. The big vision executed would be a right step towards progressing esports into more of a traditional sports setup and all the benefits that comes with that,” the statement says. “Building a league system with a governing body is interesting and maybe even what esports needs to take the next step forward. We believe in time and patience, aligning and unifying the entire scene is the key to bring the true vision to life—which from a conceptual point of view is impressive.”
Faze said it will continue to support efforts that “bring esports forward,” whether from WESA or elsewhere, and denied earlier rumors, reported by ESPN, that it faced a whopping $200,000 fine for leaving. It also said that despite the split, the clan's relationship with ESL remains solid.
“WESA and ESL are two different organizations. ESL has been good to us, showed understanding and assured us that even if we aren’t in WESA, we’ll be invited to their leagues and tournaments,” Faze said. “In other words: We are leaving on good terms.”
But as we noted in our in-depth analysis of WESA's viability, the association was “founded in a culture that was primed to reject it from the start,” and so amicable or not, this is a troubling development. Growing pains are inevitable, but founding members jumping ship this quickly is something else entirely. The remaining lineup features some big names—Fnatic, NiP, Na'Vi, Virtus.pro, G2, EnVyUs, and mousesports—but it's far from comprehensive. It's also unlikely, I would think, that Faze's concerns wouldn't be shared by at least some of those other members.