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ESL UK responds to ESL Premiership qualifiers controversy

by Michael MoriartyJanuary 12, 2017

So for anyone involved in the qualifiers for The ESL Premiership since Monday, you’d have noticed issues with with taking part. From server issues, to seeds, to delays and then format changes. It’s been a rough ride. So, I headed to the top and asked Will Attwood, Product Manager for ESL UK, what was going on.

Focusing on what happened on Tuesday, Will started off acknowledging the problems that had occurred.

So [Tuesday] night we had all manner of problems. I think it all stems to a lack of communication on our part with teams and I think a lot of it came across as us ignoring people. But there’s actually a surprising amount that was going on behind the scenes that isn’t seen.

We then got onto what happened with the double-elimination portion of the qualifier, the largest point of contention many have had.

Firstly we put out a news post on the pro site that wasn’t seen by a lot of teams, indicating a change in format. Which was 12 teams going through to the second cup instead of 16. A decision was made here based on how the Swiss was turning out and not wanting to purposely disadvantage teams with similar records.

This wasn’t communicated effectively through the various channels we have and caught most people by surprise. Once this became clear we reverted back to the 16 teams in order to be consistent with the initial announcement.

This obviously raised the question of where the post was that announced the format change, answered simply as “removed when we changed it back”. The obvious question on to why the original decision was to cut the amount of teams in the qualifiers rather than do tie-breakers. The answer is focused on back-room needs, but won’t come to too much of a comfort to CS players.

That was why we changed it and we were also trying to bear in mind that we can’t really overrun past 2 days because we need graphics created for teams and for administration pieces to be completed around team-sheets, rosters and the like.

Obviously this has now happened and we’re going to be having some late weekends this coming week ensuring that a lot of these things are done within the allotted time-frame. While the tiebreaker rounds seem like an obvious fix now, at the time we were attempting to keep to a schedule that have a lot more moving parts than just the physical games themselves, but we 100% weren’t looking to compromise the integrity of the games, which is why we allowed the tournament to overrun.

A large number of the people who I personally talked to said that this is just another thing on a long list of what ESL have done in the UK.

I appreciate that this is ‘classic ESL’. We’ve had a management change and we’re putting things into place but they are taking time to come in effect. This may mean slightly later announcements for the formats, but I’m sure we can all agree we’d rather have slightly later information and it be the correct information than a repeat of [Tuesday] night.

A final note from Will is below. As someone who’s only been running the Premiership since the beginning of January, this is not be the way he wanted his first tournament to start.

This is something I’ve taken very seriously. It is not in line with the way the ESL Premiership should be run. We’ve let people down here and we will be discussing what went wrong, what we’ll do to fix it for the future and how we include the teams in this discussion.

Between now and the start of The ESL Premiership, ESL UK will be hosting an AGM on how the tournament should be run in the future. Anyone involved in UK Esports will be invited to attend, and we’ll update for when the date is announced.

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About The Author
Michael Moriarty
Freelance journalist / writer. Operating as UKCSGO.com's Editor-in-Chief. Writer at Esports Insider and Dust2.us. Former Management at Reason Gaming. Former writer at Team expert, Team Acer and Ninjas in Pyjamas, among others.

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