The final weekend of the Rocket League Oceanic Championship regular season ended in embarrassing fashion with Team Esper allegedly throwing their match against FURY, allowing the latter to qualify for the Regional Finals at the expense of rival team Renegades.
Team Esper had started the day needing a 3-0 or 3-1 victory in a best of five against FURY to secure their place in the Regional Finals, and they looked to be on their way initially going up 2-0 before a FURY comeback levelled the tie and end their chance of progressing.
With the game at 2-2 and nothing else to play for, other than competitive integrity, team spirit, and pride Team Esper entered game 5.
What followed was one of the most naked attempts to throw a match you are ever likely to see.
A triple whiff on kick-off sent the first FURY goal flying in, and it would have been another within seconds if FURY player Luke "Amphis" Riddel could have found the net.
But it wasn't going to change this result, FURY added another with little effort and the game was well and truly up when Esper's captain Aiden "delusioN" Hendry put the ball into his own net - which prompted caster Matt "Smite" Ross, who had initially given them the benefit of the doubt, to concede that, "I don't think we can assume [they are playing their best] anymore"
The game ultimately ended 6-3, with FURY moving up to 3rd in the standings in front of Cringe Society in 4th, Renegades in 5th and Team Esper in 6th. The top 4 teams qualify for the Regional Finals.
Within hours of the match ending, Team Esper announced that they had dropped their roster but with no reference to the final game, stating: "A huge thanks to our Rocket League players for their hard work this season.
"Our time with them has drawn to a close, and we wish them all the best in the future. Hope to return shortly!"
A huge thanks to our Rocket League players for their hard work this season.— Team Esper (@TeamEsper) April 5, 2020
Our time with them has drawn to a close, and we wish them all the best in the future.
Hope to return shortly! pic.twitter.com/7zPIlrZrY1
Due to the open qualifier format that decides what teams will be playing in the forthcoming season, it is not uncommon for sports organisations in the Oceania region to drop their Rocket League rosters at the conclusion of a season.
However the speed in which Team Esper did so, highlighted by the typo in their "Farwell" image, suggests this decision was expedited.
FURY did make reference to the incident in a message celebrating their passage to Regional Final.
Despite the controversy, don't let it distract you from the fact that FURY RL just reverse swept @TeamEsper to qualify for RLCS S9 PLAYOFFS🥳🥳— FURY (@FURYAustralia) April 5, 2020
An awesome effort this season from the team, we couldn't be prouder of their efforts!#HearOurFURY🔥 | @LPL_Playpic.twitter.com/9Lza89QLZI
As of yet, there has been no official word from league organizers, Lets.Play Live, or Psyonix but sources have confirmed that the issue is under investigation as Team Esper's actions directly go against rule 7.2.1, which states: "Each Player is expected to play to the best of her or his ability at all times during any match.
"Any form of unfair play is prohibited by these Rules, and may result in disciplinary action."
- Read more: RLCS injects $250,000 into Regional Championship after Coronavirus causes LAN cancellation
Whatever punishment gets handed down the ex-Team Esper roster of Steve "SSteve" Berrospi, Finlay "Frenzyy" Rockach and delusioN will have their work cut out to regain the respect of the Rocket League community.