There’s been quite a furor over ELEAGUE’s stand that boltz and steel will not be allowed to play for their current teams. Now the rules are in place for a reason, and bending them isn’t as simple a matter as people think. If ELEAGUE bend the rules for SK Gaming and Team Liquid, they’ll be accused of favoring top teams the next time this happens. For example, if some smaller team comes along later, and wants them to bend the rules for them as well in a similar manner.
Game fans may deny it, but it’s quite true. If ELEAGUE had bent the rules without question, fans would right now be talking on the other side of the fence. They would be accusing ELEAGUE of favoritism, and perhaps even corruption. So people will talk, no matter what side the people in authority take in a particular situation.
That said, let’s take a rational look at this issue
Let’s see if there is any way for boltz and steel to play without throwing the rule-book out of the window, which is more or less what some fans are suggesting, albeit to a lesser or greater extent. The first thing we come upon when we look into the ELEAGUE rule book is section 3.1. This says, quite simply that any player who has once participated in the American qualifiers of a season of the ELEAGUE while on one team cannot then play on the roster of any other participating team during that season. This includes not only the Major, but also the LAN Qualifiers.
The spirit of the ELEAGUE
Now the rule above seems to put boltz and steel well out of the question. However, if you look at section 6.4 of the rule book, you see a way in which these players could still take part in the Major. This section clearly states that it is the spirit of the rules that take precedence over everything, and that in any issue that may arise, the ELEAGUE management does have the ability to make decisions at their discretion. It goes without saying that if they do bend the rules for boltz and steel, they might take flak in future if they don’t also do it the next time this situation occurs, but they do have the ability to do so.
Of course, whether they will actually use that ability is the matter in question
The rules are actually in place to prevent results from being manipulated through roster changes. But the spirit of the rules is to protect the integrity of the ELEAGUE. Management needs to ask itself if an SK Gaming that is crippled by having its now-well-established meta disrupted by playing in the ELEAGUE without boltz is anything close to the spirit of the rules. Worst of all, the players from Immortals who completely destroyed their team have actually retained their slot in the Major. This makes the silence of the ELEAGUE management on the fate of boltz and steel even more unfair.
CS:GO pros have come out in support of boltz and steel
Ladislav Kovács (GuardiaN) of FaZe Clan has commented on the situation, pointing out that defeating SK Gaming while they’re fighting under a handicap would make winning the ELEAGUE much less of a victory for FaZe or Astralis, or just about any other top team. FalleN of SK Gaming answered GuardiaN’s tweets, showing his appreciation for GuardiaN’s competitive spirit and spirit of fair play.
So if most professional players support boltz and steel playing on their teams to enhance the spirit of the ELEAGUE, perhaps that attitude needs to be embraced by the ELEAGUE management themselves. However, whether they play or not, and whether SK Gaming win or not, the spirit of CS:GO competition will live on, beyond the ELEAGUE and into the coming year.