After a post from former Ninjas in Pyjamas player Alex Ich, the organisation was subjected to enormous amounts of flaming from the community.
Especially since their response was interpreted as a jab at Ich’s performance while in the team, something CEO Per Liliefelth never intended.
– Of course we were disappointed when we didn’t qualify for the LCS, but it’s been interpreted in a way I could’ve never imagined. It was nothing personal against Alex, he says.
Two days ago, former Ninjas in Pyjamas star player Alexey ”Alex Ich” Ichetovkin posted a long status update, detailing why he had to leave the team. According to him, NiP had failed to present him with a work visa and also they had failed to pay him 5000 euros in earnings. When the organisation’s CEO Per Liliefelth responded, Alex Ich’s fans interpreted one of the last sentences, seemingly a jab at Ich’s performance in the team, as being in poor taste and started flaming the organisation for their behaviour. Now, Liliefelth feels the statement has been taken out of context.
– Of course we’re sad that we didn’t qualify for the LCS. The team has dominated the Challenger Series and just had to win one out of two games and they lost both. None of us even imagined that we wouldn’t make it into the LCS. But the statement was nothing personal against Alex, it’s been interpreted in a way I could’ve never imagined.
– We’re not enemies at this point, but this thing has started to live a life of its own.
”There’s been no fight”
According to Liliefelth, Alex Ich handed in his resignation on september 3rd and the team responded with an email saying they were sad to see him go but that they confirmed that he was indeed released from his contract. Also, they asked him not to go public with the news until the team had a chance to issue a statement.
– People think that we’ve kicked him out, but he resigned and we released him. During this time the visa question has been ongoing. We started working on it when he arrived in May, but legally he isn’t an athlete in Sweden. Everything has been thrown back and forth, and he’s been trying to get answers because of his family. We’ve told him that we’ve been doing everything we could.
In the end, Swedish bureaucracy stood in the way of Alex Ich getting his work visa, and then his Schengen visa expired and he had to leave the country.
– There’s been no fight about this. We’ve wanted to get him a visa and he’s wanted to get a visa. In the end it’s about Swedish immigration laws and getting the unions to recognize a foreign worker coming in and ”taking” a Swedish job.
”People say we’re scammers”
Liliefelth also feels the organisation has received some unwarranted flak after this whole story, and also after the whole Erlend ”Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm and Alfonso ”mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez racist incident.
– People are flaming us, saying we have unresolved issues with them. We’ve paid half of what we owed them, because they sabotaged a deal with a large sponsor that withdrew the minute that thing happened. We have to put our foot down and we have a zero tolerance policy for idiotic stuff like that. There’s no clause that says we can break a contract if a player hurts the organisation, but we said we would do it anyway because their behaviour was unacceptable.
– Now, people are saying we are scammers and are trying to smear our brand and that feels really unfair. It doesn’t even matter that we published our own version, people don’t even read it and instead just say: ”Pay Alex you scumbags”. You can’t have a discussion with the community that way.
”We still want a League of Legends team”
So if the visa had been sorted out, but you still hadn’t qualified for the LCS, what would’ve happened with the team then?
– Maybe the team hadn’t looked the same at the next LCS qualifier, but it has a certain value to build a team around a strong profile and player. We could’ve built something great with Alex, he’s a icon and a lot of people want to play with him. I think we could’ve built something good from the ground up.
You’ve had your fair share of bad luck surrounding your League of Legends team. What are your plans for the future?
– Yeah, the team has been surrounded by constant turmoil and right now we don’t even have a lineup, but we still want one. It’s all about finding the right team and people who can work together. That’s the hardest thing in eSports. We want to have one of the best League of Legends teams in the world, but we might have to take a step back and figure out how to get there.
Alex Ich has declined to further comment the issue.