ESL issues apology to snubbed EPL teams for lack of communication
ESL's Senior Vice President of Product, Ulrich Schulze, has apologised to the teams who have been left out of ESL Pro League for the company's lack of communication before the start of the season.
The MTG-owned tournament organiser also unveiled a preliminary list, featuring teams who had been invited but had not yet committed to the competition. These included member organizations that had agreed to the "Lanxess Agreement", EPL S10 Finals participants, the latest ESEA MDL winners and teams determined by the ESL World Ranking.
ESL has faced criticism for a move which is set to exclude teams who already had spots in the league - such as BIG and HellRaisers -, and others who were due to take part in the relegation stage and whose requests for information were ignored by ESL for months. In a statement issued on Monday, the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association (CSPPA), which recently signed a framework agreement for the ESL Pro Tour, admitted to being "disappointed with the way ESL has handled their communication of the EPL changes".
In a series of tweets, Schulze admits that this saga should have been handled differently, but insists that the company is now working with the affected teams to "address their concerns to the best possible extent."
"We apologise that we have not conducted the process up to the desired standards," the ESL chief said. "We got it wrong by not letting affected teams know further in advance that significant changes were coming, including the number of teams playing. While several important elements of the league's structure were unknown until last week, the teams were not given enough notice.
"We did not engage with the affected teams enough to understand how we can preserve the value the EPL slot held for them. We have reached out to all teams and are going to speak this week to make sure that we can address their concerns to the best possible extent."
Schulze maintains that all the teams who have been left out will have a chance to qualify for Pro League Season 12 "in a way that ensures regional representation". The qualifying process has not yet been decided, but this statement offers a ray of light for teams from South America - a region that initially looked to be excluded from the Pro League circuit.
"We are still working on final details inconsultation with the CSPPA, but any of the teams will be able to make it back in season 12 - not only through MDL and in a way that ensures regional representation," he added.
"ESL Pro League and MDL are going to co-exist in the future, and it is our clear intent to make sure that MDL remains a stable environment for teams to compete in below ESL Pro League.
"In 2020 we have opened the ESL Pro Tour up with a large number of opportunities for aspiring teams to reach the Masters level, including spots for Challenger tournaments in Masters tournaments and a mandated percentage of open online qualifiers in our Masters stops. We remain committed to making sure that over the broad spectrum of our activities as many teams as possible receive chances to compete at the highest level."
The ESL chief added that more details will be released "in the coming days", with Season 11 scheduled to start on March 16.