UltraPlay, the owners of Bulgarian Counter-Strike team Outlaws, announced Tuesday it will pull its investment from Outlaws, releasing the players to be free agents. The Outlaws Academy will continue, though, according to a news release.
“With the recent events happening to CS:GO team Outlaws, UltraPlay has decided to end investment in the team and release the players to seek their opportunities as free agents,”Outlaws manager Lachezar Lazarov said in a statement. “Following our mission to enrich the esports ecosystem in Central and Eastern European region, we have invested a lot in our esports Academy as supporting the CS:GO team Outlaws. We are proud with our achievements and the CS:GO talents we have supported to improve and find their way on the professional CS:GO scene. Now, we look for better opportunities for our esports Academy and have plans to further develop our esports brand Outlaws.”
The announcement comes at a curious time, as less than a week ago Mario Ovcharov sent an email to multiple members of the media to protest NRG Esports‘ signing of Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov. UltraPlay claimed CeRq breached his contract by signing with NRG, which also included a non-compete clause that prevented CeRq from working or performing any activity “in any company from (Outlaws’) industry” for up to two years.
NRG responded with a statement from an attorney saying that there was no binding agreement between CeRq and Outlaws.
“It had been CeRq’s free choice to train and compete with Outlaws in recent past, and it also was his free choice, with the consent and encouragement of his father and legal guardian, to begin seeking other opportunities going forward,” attorney Emil Pehlivanov wrote in the statement, which was sent in the same email chain as Ovcharov’s original message.
Ovcharov then responded to NRG’s release with a list of eight bullet points disputing NRG’s claims, the last of which reading: “In a case, where we are in a legal dispute over the validity of the agreement, it is up to the Bulgarian court to decide upon it.”
One week later, every player from the Outlaws team is a free agent. What this means for the dispute with CeRq is unclear.
Cover photo courtesy of UltraPlay