The World Esports Association (WESA) announced Thursday that RFRSH Entertainment, which represents Counter-Strike teams Astralis, Godsent and Heroic, has come to agreement in adoption of WESA’s standards regarding multiple team ownership.
RFRSH will have 18 months to divest ownership of multiple teams to be eligible to compete in the ESL Pro League, according to a news release. WESA outlawed in March any organization from owning multiple teams in order to compete in any WESA-sanctioned events, and it gave those organizations 18 months to comply. Right now, ESL Pro League is the only one.
But because RFRSH’s current ownership model was implemented before WESA’s ruling, the 18-month grace period starts now.
“The rules and regulations we have implemented are designed to protect the integrity of our member organizations, their players and the esports industry at large,” WESA Commissioner Ken Hershman said in a release. “RFRSH has indicated that they also share the vision to invest in improvements for players, fans and the scene in general. We are very pleased that RFRSH has embraced the regulations and we look forward to continue working with them to move the industry forward.”
Thursday’s announcement seems to contradict RFRSH’s own statements about its model. The organization, which refers to itself as a “media rights” company, has denied it owns multiple teams. The head of the Danish Sports Federation cited last month “one company that owns several teams” among the reasons Denmark would not consider esports as an official sport. When reached for comment about that distinction, RFRSH’s Steen Laursen told Slingshot: “I don’t see the DIF person referring to RFRSH, as he is specifically talking about owning more teams, which we do not.”
RFRSH released a statement in March — coincidentally on the same day WESA adopted the aforementioned regulations, attempting to clear up its ownership model. In it, RFRSH claimed it “may take part ownership of one or more of the teams to secure that the RFRSH model is fully incorporated into the team strategy.”
RFRSH has been part of a debate in the Counter-Strike community about multi-team ownership, a months long conversation that included the World Esports Association outlawing it and the ESL banning teams from competing in the same tournaments as their academy teams.