The World Esports Association (WESA) has adopted new regulations that will restrict multiple team ownership, new sanction regulations and a personal code of conduct, the organization announced on Tuesday. New restrictions on multiple team ownership will affect six Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams.
"At WESA, we are committed to creating industry-wide standards in esports that benefit member teams, their players and the esports industry at large," WESA executive chairman and commissioner Ken Hershman said in a press release. "These new standards and regulations will further our goal of better professionalizing esports and ensure that all of our organizations are operating on the same level playing field."
The new rules state that no parties involved in multiple team ownership, either completely or partially, will be able to compete in WESA-regulated events, such as the ESL Pro League and other ESL events. The association will give parties who currently own or co-own multiple teams 18 months to comply with its new policies, with the teams involved needing to run independently afterwards.
Of these teams and their parent organizations, RFRSH Entertainment addressed its business model and stakes in three Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams, Astralis, Heroic, and Godsent, each of which have players who are minority owners. RFRSH claims that its business model is to operate and launch viable esports teams in the first 36 months of their startups before handing off ownership to involved parties.
"Provided an agreement can be found with the teams and orgs, during the establishment and development phase, RFRSH 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's press release reads. "We do not see a conflict in multiple team ownership under this model, as each team is and will be its own entity, however, when the teams and brands are fully established, RFRSH will no (longer) have a controlling share or ownership of the teams, brands or orgs."
Another entity, ESForce, which co-owns Virtus.Pro, Natus Vincere, and SK Gaming, have yet to react following Tuesday's announcement.
In addition to the focus on prohibiting multi-team ownership, WESA's new sanction regulations outline how the organization will make sanctions and rulings against any form of wrongdoing or violation against the code of conduct.
WESA was launched in 2016 as a governing body comprised of ESL, who help launched the project, and eight esports teams, each of which have Counter-Strike teams from Europe. These teams included Fnatic, Natus Vincere, Team EnVyUs, Virtus.Pro, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The coalition is now comprised of seven teams following FaZe Clan departing from its ranks in May, citing potential conflict of interests and concern around how the organization would handle business.