Filipino League of Legends: Wild Rift team Amihan Esports have been banned from competing in all of the game's officially-sanctioned esports events after the organisation was found to have forged documents that misrepresented the age of underage player Karl "AMI Karlll" Bautista.
In a post on the official Wild Rift website on Saturday (17 July), developer Riot Games revealed that Amihan Esports presented them with illegally forged documents that "misrepresent [AMI Karlll's] age at the time of registration" in order for him to compete in the Wild Rift SEA Icon Series Philippines Summer Season and the SEA Icon Series Summer Super Cup.
Riot added that several members of the team, including the then-team manager and owner, were aware and involved in the process of the forgery.
As a result of their infraction, Amihan Esports have been banned from all Riot Games esports events for 12 months and will also have to forfeit their prize winnings from both the SEA Icon Series Philippines Summer Season and the Summer Super Cup.
The prize money forfeited by Amihan Esports amounts to over US$26,000 and will be donated to a charity of Riot's choosing through the Riot Games Social Impact Fund. The organisation's slot in the SEA Icon Series Fall Season has also been vacated and will be filled through a new qualifier.
AMI Karlll was also handed a nine-month ban from all Riot esports events, with the duration of the ban beginning on the date of his last match on 26 June. Amihan Esports' former manager, Christian Villegas, was given a 12-month ban.
Meanwhile, Amihan Esports owner Francis Mariano has been banned indefinitely from all Riot esports events and will only be eligible to apply for reinstatement a full two years after the ban was announced.
Riot revealed that they were first made aware of suspicious behavior by Amihan Esports last month when the team was accused of “map hacking and inaccurate player documentation”.
While the organisation was found innocent in both cases, "new evidence" surfaced earlier this month regarding AMI Karlll's documentation and prompted Riot to reopen its investigation.
This then led to Amihan and AMI Karlll being found guilty of illegally forging the underage player's documents.
"Maintaining the competitive integrity of all our esports tournaments as well as the safety and well-being of pro teams are Riot’s top priorities, and we take such violations extremely seriously. All our participating teams are expected to abide by the rules of fair play, agreed upon prior to participation in the tournaments. Violations of the rules of fair play will not be tolerated," said Riot.
Amihan Esports emerged as the Philippines' first Wild Rift champion during the SEA Icon Series Summer Season. They won the country's Visayan regional competition and defeated Team Secret in the subsequent country-wide tournament to be crowned the first-ever Philippine Wild Rift champions.
However, Amihan Esports bombed out in the quarterfinals of the SEA Icon Series Summer Super Cup, the first pan-regional Wild Rift tournament for Southeast Asia.
On Saturday, Amihan Esports owner Mariano apologised through the team's Facebook page, saying that the team were deeply sorry and accepted Riot's decision.
Mariano also added that the team were proud of their accomplishments despite the setback.
"I would also like to clarify that we were NOT involved in match fixing win trading, cheating, map hacking and other baseless allegations that are being spread as rumors. We have won our games with pure competition, training and sacrifices and as an organization, we are extremely proud of what our players have accomplished in such a short time," he said.
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