Astralis fined $100k in ESL Pro League conflict of interest case

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Astralis

Danish esports organisation Astralis has been fined $100,000 (~£79,000) by the ESL FACEIT Group’s ESL Pro League for a conflict of interest case from 2021.

The ESL Pro League has determined that Astralis asked for and received services from a future employee in 2021, which was a conflict of interest since the employee was a part of a competing team.

ESI Lisbon 2024

The fine comes as a result of an investigation by the Commissioner’s Office of the Louvre Agreement — the deal governs the Pro League — and includes legal and procedural fees. The Pro League explicitly noted that it found no competition or match results had been impacted by the conflict of interest, and that other claims were investigated but no other breaches were identified.

The Commissioner of the ESL Pro League, Alex Inglot, said in a statement that the need to investigate a member of the Louvre Agreement was rare, but also that the League will always act on critical information and investigate. Inglot also commended Astralis on the handling of the situation, noting that the organisation “conducted themselves in a constructive manner.”

The Pro League did not share any official details about the issue itself, nor did Astralis. However, the conflict of interest is highly likely to pertain to a series of reports published by independent journalist Richard Lewis about former Heroic coach Nicolai ‘Hunden’ Petersen, who Richard Lewis found had signed contracts with Astralis while still under contract from Heroic.

Heroic has also alleged that Hunden had shared confidential material with Astralis in 2021. Both Astralis and Heroic are Pro League partner teams.

Astralis CEO Anders Hørsholt commented the following the investigation’s outcome “From the moment Astralis were approached by the Commissioner’s Office with regards to these allegations, we worked closely and collaboratively with them, the Executive Board and the investigators to support their process.

“We are equally surprised and disappointed with the conclusion of the investigation, but we believe all parties have learned a lot throughout this process, and we accept the verdict.

Hørsholt’s statement continued: “In Astralis, we firmly believe in maintaining high standards of professionalism, integrity, and fair play, and as such we are proud of the fact that the Louvre Agreement is at the forefront of good governance and regulatory discipline, under which a complaint by a Member is taken seriously and followed up on with a thorough investigation.

“We also wish to recognise the diligent work done by all involved parties in this matter. As the Louvre Agreement is a continually-evolving document, we anticipate working together with the Members in the near future to see if and how we can iterate this process further, and keep it at that best practice level.”

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.