SK Gaming has finalized a deal to sign the Não Tem Como Counter-Strike roster to long term contracts, according to multiple sources close to the team and organization. That could cause problems should Não Tem Como qualify for ESL One Belo Horizonte because SK Gaming would have two teams at the tournament, creating a conflict of interest and violation of the ESL rulebook.
In April 2017, ESL published a ruling on academy teams participating in ESL tournament qualifiers:
"The License rules of ESL One are clear on the fact that each organization and its legal entity can only acquire one license per tournament which involves it’s qualifiers. Therefore it is not allowed that an organization’s academy team will participate in an ESL One tournament or qualifier if… a) Another team of the organization has been invited to the main event.b) Another team of the organization has been invited to the closed qualifier.c) Another team of the organization has signed up for the same qualifier.
A special exception to this can only be made if the organization in question provides a written confirmation that at least four weeks ahead of the part of the competition including the main team, the academy team will either be sold or their contracts will be terminated in order for them to participate with a new organization and under a new name. The restriction for the academy team falls away if the invitation for the main team gets declined or is otherwise voided."
Even though Não Tem Como is not an “academy team” the rule would likely still apply if Não Tem Como wins its final match in the ESL One Belo Horizonte South America Qualifier. SK Gaming would be in violation of the rule because its current roster already received an invitation to the event.
The current SK Gaming roster plans to sign with Immortals and compete under the Made in Brazil name when their contracts expire in July, so an easy solution would be for SK Gaming to release its main roster before the event, which takes place June 13-17.
DBLTAP reported in February that SK Gaming entered serious discussions to sign the ex-100 Thieves players, who are now under NTC. Since this report, Não Tem Como removed twin brothers Henrique "HEN1" Teles and Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles and replaced them with Vito "kNg" Giuseppe and Marcelo "chelo" Cespedes. KNg was a member of the original 100 Thieves lineup before being released for posting unprofessional comments on Twitter. Chelo is a young rifler who had played for Luminosity Gaming since mid-2017.
Accompanying those players on the new SK Gaming lineup are Lincoln “fnx” Lau, Bruno “bit” Lima, and João “felps” Vasconcellos. Felps is still under contract with SK Gaming from his time with the organization previously and will likely extend his contract once it expires this July.
Neither SK Gaming nor ESL initially responded to requests for comment.
Photo be Helena Kristiansson/ESL