SBTC Esports banned from Vietnam's League of Legends league due to alleged match-fixing

SBTC Esports have also been barred from selling their spot in the league and its owner was banned from participating in any events hosted by Riot Games.

SBTC Esports has been barred from Riot Games tournaments, and most of its team members were also given 36-month bans. (Photo: SBTC Esports)
SBTC Esports has been barred from Riot Games tournaments, and most of its team members were also given 36-month bans. (Photo: SBTC Esports)

Vietnamese League of Legends (LoL) team SBTC Esports have been banned from participating in any of the Vietnamese Championship Series (VCS) tournaments and forbidden from selling the spot they owned in the league allegedly for their failure to pay player salaries and participation in match-fixing.

A translation of the VCS' official statement on the matter read, "Going through the investigation process of the SBTC Esports team's violations, the organisers would like to announce that the SBTC Esports team has been disqualified from participating in all VCS tournament systems due to serious violations of the regulations and rules of the SBTC Esports team.”

The announcement was made on the VCS official page by BTC VCS Dusk, the tournament organiser of the VCS.

Furthermore, the organisation's owner, Trần Đức Cường, has been "permanently banned" from participating in Riot Games tournaments.

On top of this, most players of the team were also not spared. Trần “Nper” Đình Tuấn, Đỗ “DNK” Ngọc Khải, Lê “Dia1” Phú Quý, Lê “Vinboiz” Trần Quang Vinh, and Nguyễn “Penguin” Đăng Khoa have all been given 36-month bans.

“Accordingly, SBTC Esports is no longer allowed to participate in any activities related to VCS tournaments in the future, from participating in, owning a team to transferring competition positions in the VCS system,” the statement also said. This means that SBTC Esports cannot sell their spot to other teams eyeing a spot in the VCS league," the VCS' statement continued.

The decision was made less than two weeks after the VCS launched an investigation into an unspecified rule violation committed by SBTC and indefinitely disqualified the team from the league. The team was also suspended from participating at the time.

The initial sanction also implicated former SBTC Esports Support Nguyen "Palette" Hai Trung, coach Thanh Luan "Naul" Boxing, and Tran "HYPE" Huu Toan.

However, after the preliminary investigations, Palette, coach Naul, and analyst HYPE were all cleared of allegations.

Palette was eventually released as a free agent on 4 August and joined GAM Esports.

Although the allegations were not confirmed in the announcement in detail, several Vietnamese news sources, like KTGame, have reported that the organisation had issues with paying player salaries and “selling”, which referred to match-fixing.

Additionally, a report by Vietnam Posts English reported that Palette also accused SBTC through one of his streams that he was “kicked for no apparent reason" and that the organisation has not even paid his salary yet. He also said that the team hired a coach that had “no experience in running a LoL team”.

SBTC players speak out on social media

Some of the banned SBTC players spoke out about the incident on social media.

Vinboiz posted publicly on Facebook, saying that he asked for evidence against the allegations, but the organisers, BTC, allegedly “didn’t give any,” according to a machine translation of his post.

Top laner Nper also posted, and according to the translation of his post, he said BTC told them that “it wasn’t related to [the team’s] 25 June match against GAM.”

Nper also claimed on his Facebook post that he did the same and asked for evidence, but allegedly, “BTC couldn’t provide.”

The VCS Dusk playoffs are still ongoing and will conclude on 9 September, with the VCS Champion and the VCS second seed qualifying for the LoL World Championship 2023.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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