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Building the Future - Work in Process
As promised yesterday, following the announcements of our League of Legends roster changes I wanted to share an update on our decision-making and plans going into Summer. We expected there to be lots of discussion from fans around the moves, but there has also been a lot of speculation and inaccurate information shared. I would now like to share with all of you our thought process on the recently announced changes.
Leaving Spring Split in a disappointing fifth place, and with concerns about the alignment of the team, we entered discussions with all our players and staff to get their view on how we can get back on track, as well as to understand their vision for the future beyond the on-going season.
In some of these conversations we also discussed and formalized what an extended future in Fnatic could look like, which was a natural discussion to have following where we left contractual discussions at the end of 2020 specially with Bwipo, Selfmade and Hylissang whose contracts were coming to an end by the end of this season.
Without going into the finer details of confidential conversations between us and the players, it became clear that there was uncertainty from their side about the future both when it came to being part of our long-term project, and when it came to remaining teammates beyond this year.
Despite suggestions from the team that they could play out the Summer together (and possibly Worlds), it was obvious that if we could find the right players in the market this mid-season that could improve our team in the long term, we should make the change now. As an organisation, we have always tried to make the best decisions for roster stability, cohesion and results, while keeping an eye on the future. Allowing this roster to drift into Summer without any long term view was not an option for us.
In that context we felt Adam was the natural choice when he became available, given his rise in both LFL and EUM, and his alignment with our future plans for our LoL team. Once that decision was made and while we were still exploring the market in the other positions, our coaching staff, together with management, decided that Bwipo’s position change was our best option to improve our stability and team cohesion in the upcoming split.
Obviously Bwipo was asked if he felt ready for this. We already had inclinations that he would be before asking given that this is not the first time that this option has been considered during his time at Fnatic, and also given that he is arguably one of the most multi-faceted athletes Fnatic has ever had. He discussed this proposal with his teammates, who gave him their full support. Should Bwipo not have felt comfortable with this change, we would have continued exploring our options and therefore our decision would have been different for Summer.
Following discussions with Selfmade and his representation, he told us that he would prefer to find another team rather than staying in a non-starter capacity in Fnatic. In order to not block him from his desire and given that his commitment to the Fnatic long-term project was unclear, we worked out a transfer for him to continue his already impressive journey in another team - where we all wish him the best of luck.
To conclude, when looking backwards we can see in the last few years that we as management have not been able to create the environment we want to have when it comes to making players thrive as a unit. We know we have failed in this regard in the past years, and being close to success in the past with similar issues have made us optimistic that we could succeed despite internal problems. We are committed to solving our issues with the player environment. This means identifying the right personalities to be around the team, as well as extending that to player acquisition and retention, to the needs of our new facility and out-of-game support.
It’s on that basis that we turn the chapter now, leaving 10 years of both success and plenty of failures behind, with the goal for this next offseason and beyond of taking brave decisions and making all the necessary changes to regain our position as the best team in the West.
Into the Future
Our eye on the future does not mean we have given up on the present. We expect our team to be very competitive in this upcoming LEC Summer Split, and our requirement from the team is to earn a place at our 5th consecutive Worlds Championships.
Finally, I would like to thank each and every Fnatic fan that offers their support split after split and year after year despite so many ups and downs. Offseasons are often chaotic times, and I hope these insights can help inform you of our intentions for the future. On the 7th of June we will host a live stream on twitch.tv/fnatic with the participation of all our team members where we will answer your questions and celebrate the beginning of the split. We are building something special, and I hope we can count on your support.
- Javier "Dardo" Zafra, Team Director Fnatic League of Legends