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SK Gaming Owner slams Alliance management over Nyph departure

SK Gaming's CEO Alexander T. Müller says Alliance players and management, including former owner Alex Garfield, were disrespectful in approaching former player Patrick 'Nyph' Funke.

Update - 6:21 PM EST: Alliance's top laner Mike 'Wickd' Petersen has posted the following message on his Facebook regarding the situation.

"My point of view on recruiting Nyph since there’s a discussion about it on Reddit due to Alexander Muller making an interview about it.

As you all know it wasn’t certain that I was going to play for Alliance this season and because of that I sought out options. In the past Nyph and I were in a team together and I always loved playing together with him. Therefore I decided to talk to him about ending up in a team together and at the time I was unsure if it would be SK or Alliance, but both organisations wanted us. However there were contract problems on both sides due to me and Nyph being under contract till the end of 2013. It ended up with both of us wanting to be a part of the Alliance lineup, but that wasn’t possible before BotA due to Nyph having to hold up his end of the contract with SK Gaming. I don’t understand why Alexander Muller would make a post about us being “disrespectful” for talking to Nyph about possibly becoming a part of Alliance since SK did the exact same to me and I think it’s normal to look at your options when contracts are ending.

Also, there was no conversations between Alliance and Nyph about finances or contractual stuff until after January 1st. He is joining our team because he wants to win!"

Original Story: Before the new year, SK Gaming's Owner Alexander T. Müller announced the changes that his organization would see going into 2014, including the departure of long-standing StarCraft 2 superstar Jang 'MC' Min Chul and League of Legends LCS starter Patrick 'Nyph' Funke. Players contracts were up on December 31st for SK Gaming players, and, in both instances, the two parties decided against re-signing. Müller said in the announcement that Funke would be joining Alliance, though at the time no official announcement had been made from Alliance.

Speaking on the future of SK Gaming with onGamers, Müller took aim at Alliance management, including Alex Garfield, CEO of GoodGame Agency, which owns and operates the Alliance and Evil Geniuses brands, for their approach in signing Funke.

"What happened in the past 5 months was beyond what is acceptable", Müller said. "Not only did we have to solve the situation with John 'hyrqBot' and Kevin 'Kev1n', but on top of that, when Patrick made public that he wanted to rebuild SK, lead the team into the most important match of 2013, he was approached by players and management of EG or Alliance, no one knew back then."

Müller added, "Waving dollars and a secure LCS contract at a player that made a clear statement and is under contract with a team during that time was one of the most disrespectful moves I have ever witnessed in eSport and we are talking 14 years here."

Rule 10.2.12 from the Riot LCS Ruleset states: "No Team Member or Affiliate of a team may solicit, lure, or make an offer of employment to any Team Member who is signed to any LCS team, nor encourage any such Team Member to breach or otherwise terminate a contract with said LCS team. Violations of this rule shall be subject to penalties, at the discretion of LCS officials."

Müller alleges that when Evil Geniuses came to Cologne for the Battle of the Atlantic, SK Gaming let them play at their offices and bootcamp there. Müller believes a codex was broken in terms of sportsmanship and respect, and that management walked a grey line in terms of Riot's League of Legends Championship Series rules regarding player transfers.

"Alex Garfield even asked to have Patrick released for the BotA show match Alliance played," he said. "Consider this request while keeping in mind what situation SK was in. We are over it now, for sure. We dealt with it in our locker room so to speak, but I can't understand how you can act like that at all nor could other managers we talked about this situation to."

On a request for comment, Garfield, who recently orchestrated a deal to have both Alliance and Evil Geniuses brands in the LCS, tells onGamers that all moves and acquisitions have been in line with LCS guidelines.

"With regard to Nyph, everything that took place was in strict compliance with LCS regulations," said Garfield. "I think Mr. Müller is frustrated about losing a key player, and frustration can lead to hyperbole in situations like these. I have only the utmost respect for him and his organization, so if you're looking for a war of words, you'd probably be better served by heading over to eSports Express."

When asked to comment on the situation or elaborate whether or not there was an investigation going on regarding Funk's transfer, Riot Games declined to comment to onGamers.

Müller says that going forward SK Gaming will focus it's efforts on League of Legends, both the professional and amateur team, ahead of other games including StarCraft 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. He explained, "It's very uncertain regarding a new SC2 player or team", Müller said. "A big role in that plays the amount of money thrown at SC2 players by other organizations. We don't see it fit the overall picture."

"First we do our homework regarding the League of Legends Pro team. Then the substitutes and amateur team. Then we will work out the rest of the games."

The 2014 LCS season kicks off on January 14th, 2014 with SK Gaming taking on Alternate. The games can be watched on Riot Games' channel.

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