(E)Sports Clubs shall be in fair competition and at the end the better team (club) for its superiority in the specific sport/game shall win. If one entity has influence over several eSports Clubs this principle of fair competition might fail. And this is for us all in this industry to prevent.

Influence can be exerted in multiple different ways and significance. It gets most problematic when one party has controlling influence over several Clubs. How do you get to influence over a Club?

Operational involvement

A person/entity can be employed and involved in decision making processes that directly affect the Clubs sports performance. He might even be in an executive position giving him direct control on fundamental business decision.

Shareholder and shareholder rights

A person/entity could be a shareholder and through his shareholder rights have influence over fundamental decisions, such as budget or financing. Very much depends on the rights attached to the shares and the amount of shares the person/entity holds.

Other contractual arrangements

There are many different contractual relationships a Club might have. Contracts can be designed in a way to limit or influence decision making of the Club’s Management Team or Owners or even undermine the assets of a company. To make it clear: A contractual relationship can also be a verbal agreement. A point where things get really blurry.

On top of all of this is corporate governance of the Esports Club(s). A well established Esports Club typically consists of a Board of Directors and its shareholders with approval processes for important decisions being part of the Articles of Association and/or Shareholder agreements and/or employment agreements. As long as there is not one single decision maker on the Board of Directors and not one single controlling Shareholder (who is potentially also the owner) but rather of group of shareholders, there should be a rather small risk of conflicts as one instance controls and checks the other.

A conflict which influences fair competition and Sports integrity would be any meaningful and significant combination of the above aswell as a lack or failure of corporate governance.

Handling and examples from traditional Sports

In European football ownership in multiple teams is generally not forbidden, yet it comes with clear restrictions on how big and what sort of ownership that is. These restrictions are different between the national leagues and governing body and it feels a bit messy between them. Here is some select articles with context:

Here is also a case of a German soccer Clubs president (Bayern Munich) issuing a loan to rivaling club Borrussia Dortmund to finance a player transfer:

While loans generally are on the weaker end of potential integrity violations it still is remarkable to this happening.