Outlaws and NRG in transfer dispute over CeRq
UltraPlay, the parent company of the esports team Outlaws, is currently in dispute with NRG over the transfer of Cvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov.
The Bulgarian company, that found themselves on the other side of a contract dispute earlier this year, claims that the 17-year-old signed a contract with the North American team while still being under contract with Outlaws, and that no official player transfer happened between the two sides.
To address the matter, Outlaws sent out an open letter to major media outlets. In it, the Bulgarian side claims that after learning that NRG signed a contract with Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov, they approached the North American side to "potentially reach a transfer deal", but "were left without any meaningful response", which they believe "represents extreme lack of sports business ethics".
Further on, UltraPlay go on to explain that they "have invested hundreds of thousands to develop and market [the team]", and that the recent occurrences not only bring financial losses to their company, but that they also have an overall negative impact on the development of the eSports ecosystem globally.
In the letter, UltraPlay state that esports should look up to professional sports for some good practices:
"If we want eSports to be recognized as professional sport, we have to integrate some good practices from traditional sports where regulation and transfer rights are already well-established and protecting both the player and the organization. Take for example football where part of the transfer money goes to the player’s first team as a reverence and recognition of its achievement from where it all started."
At the end, the Bulgarian side raised the following questions, addressing some of the stakeholders in the space directly:
"Question to ESL: Will you allow a player, who is on an active contract with team A (Outlaws) to play in the ESL Pro League NA for team B (NRG eSports)? Will you take certain measures to prevent this occurrence and set it as industry standard?"
"Question to WESA and ESIC: What kind of actions can be taken, and what is the general stance of your organizations when it comes to such wildly poor ethics and theft of players?"
"Question to NRG eSports: Coming from the traditional sports space with owning Sacramento Kings and understanding the basic principles of sports integrity and transfers procedures, what do you think is the most rightful way to proceed in this situation?"
HLTV.org have reached out to ESL for a comment on the case, but have not yet received an official response.
*UPDATE* NRG has announced that they will be releasing their response on the matter later today.