Esports Arena: 'League of Legends' Team Accused of Not Paying Player; 'Overwatch' League Star Retires Over Dispute With Coach

Adela Sznajder
'League of Legends' World Championships 2019

Elsewhere in competitive gaming: Japanese 'Smash Bros.' tournament caps registration due to too many entries; 'PUBG Mobile' reveals esports plans, prize pool for 2020; top 'CS:GO' team sells star's contract.

Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.

Lee “GBM” Chang-seok, a player for Turkish League of Legends team Galatasaray Esports, has accused the team of not paying his full salary and ignoring any requests for payments. 

He revealed the payment dispute on his personal Twitter account, mentioning that the team originally promised to pay in the first week of October, but allegedly kept telling the player “next week” until now. Commented Chang-seok, “I’m surprised the pro league has a team like this in esports.”

One of the team’s board members, Erol Osmandiraci, responded to Chang-seok’s claim, denying the allegations that the team was ignoring his requests and that he’s already been paid half of his owed salary. Meanwhile, Chang-seok’s teammate Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-jin voiced support for his fellow player, saying, “Me and GBM have been in debt ever since they returned to Korea. We borrowed money from our acquaintances because we didn't get paid.”

When contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, Chang-seok says he still has not been paid by Galatasaray and his last correspondence with the team was on Nov. 16.

Galatasaray Esports did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Elsewhere, Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov of the Overwatch League’s Atlanta Reign has retired from competition, citing issues with the coaches of the team as his reason for departure. Koppalov made the announcement on a Russian social media site, where he says his “motivation was killed by the main coach” as well as “the actions that Blizzard takes about competitive Overwatch,” including patches, lack of player feedback and more. 

Here’s what else is happening in the world of esports.

Japanese Smash Bros. Tournament Caps Registration Due to Higher Than Expected Entries

EVO Japan has been forced to cap registration for its Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competition due to higher interest than expected, citing safety concerns. The event’s official Twitter account announced the unexpected cap, saying, “Thank you for a greater-than-expected number of registration ... Maximum number of participants in #SSBU is 3072. If you haven’t registered yet, we want you to do it immediately.” Registration for the tournament was at 2,991 entrants as of Nov. 29.

PUBG Mobile Esports Plans, $5 Million Prize Pool Unveiled for 2020

Tencent has rolled out its plans for the PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS Mobile 2020 esports season. The year of competition begins with the Campus Championships for amateur teams, followed by the PUBG Mobile Club Open and Pro League running simultaneously. The top-performing teams from those events will compete in the Regional Pro League, which will lead to the World League and the eventual PUBG Mobile World Championship 2020. The total prize pool for the season, including the Campus Championships all the way to the World Championships, will be upwards of $5 million. 

CS:GO's Team Sells Star's Contract

North, a prominent team in the CounterStrike: Global Offensive circuit, has sold the contract of one of its best players, Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså, to an unknown team. The organization made the announcement via a blog post on its official website, saying that North CEO Christopher Håkonsson “appreciates valde for his effort at North” while mentioning some “super exciting announcements in the pipeline that we're looking forward to show the world.” Bjørn Vangså himself addressed the transfer in the blog post, saying he “got to play 35 tournaments and lift four trophies during my time in North, and all of them played a role in creating some of the most memorable moments I have in my life.”