Team Secret reshuffles management as payment feud resurfaces

Team Secret announced yesterday that Kemal Sadikoglu would no longer be a director with the company whilst John Yao would be Secret’s newly appointed CEO. 

Co-founders Clement “Puppey” Ivanov and Matthew “Cyborgmatt” Bailey announced the appointment yesterday in a post addressing their partners, sponsors and fans. 

Credit: Team Secret

John Yao, the new CEO, is the older brother of Team Secret’s Clash of Clans representative George “Jorge” Yao.  The announcement on the websites welcomes Yao, saying “John brings seasoned executive experience to the team, an impressive track record of business success, and perhaps most importantly – a passionate devotion to Team Secret’s mission”. 

Dota 2 team captain and co-founder Clement released a statement on his personal Twitter account which has since been met with considerable backlash. Part of the statement reads: “I would like to use this opportunity to address some of the drama involving previous players and our management. Ultimately, as an owner of Secret I am responsible for all aspects of running the company. I apologise to those players who may have felt team secret did not meet or fulfil their expectations. I also understand that some managerial decisions have affected/impacted players negatively. However, I’m glad to be able to say that we have fulfilled all of our obligations towards previous players for their time at Secret. This leaves to address our present and future.”

The squad and ownership’s integrity has been thrown into question repeatedly over recent years, with late (or no) payment to former players a constantly emerging problem. Allegations stretch back as far as February 2016 but with fresh allegations emerging in October 2016. Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao (now co-owner of Team NP) publicly aired his feud and what he believed he was owed by Team Secret, with another ex-Secret man Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen (now of Digital Chaos) backing up his claims. 

Ultimately, the community rightly backed Jacky’s side as the evidence was irrefutable. Following the aforementioned release from Clement stating “I’m glad to say we have fulfilled all of our obligations towards previous players for their time at Secret”, EternalEnvy took to Twitter once more to rubbish the claims and reignite the feud. 

This could be set to rumble on for a while yet. Whilst Puppey used to be held in extremely high-esteem by the Dota community, his reputation took a considerable hit when the allegations first surfaced. The statement he released yesterday was probably meant to repair some of the aforementioned damage but alas, Jacky has taken care of that. 

Esports Insider says: Hopefully the new appointment can help Secret right the wrongs of the past and go in a new direction. The brand houses extremely talented players across a multitude of games so hopefully the change in leadership can help protect and nurture the talent without a repeat of previous controversies.