- Zhang will no longer be associated with any organization in a Riot-sanctioned competition
- This is because he was found guilty of diverting player payments for personal gain
- Zhang was also accused of other solicitous actions towards his former players and staff
Peter Zhang, TSM’s former LoL coach, will no longer be able to participate in any Riot-sanctioned team, organization, or competition, according to the LCS’s latest competitive ruling.
Riot Bans Zhang
It is not uncommon for companies and esports organizers to ban certain players based on cheating or other types of misconduct. However, it’s rare to see an organizer oust a high-ranking member of a team’s staff. Well, this is exactly what happened when Riot permanently banned Zhang “Peter Zhang” Yi, TSM’s former coach, from “any association or affiliation with a team or organization in a Riot-sanctioned competition”.
On Monday, August 8, the official League of Legends esports news page released a statement explaining Riot has decided to ban Zhang because he “violated the LCS Rule Set as well as the LCS Eligibility and Release Agreement”. The ban follows an investigation on part of the LCS that investigated the case of Zhang diverting about $250 000 in salary from two TSM players to himself and other parties. For his actions, Zhang was eventually fired from TSM on March 18 this year, and Riot’s recent decision, supporting TSM’s decision, permanently bans the coach for participating in the LCS in any way.
What Else Is Zhang Accused Of?
This case is yet another thorn in TSM’s reputation. Just a few weeks ago, the organization once again captured headlines with the case of its CEO Andy “Reginald” Dinh who was accused by several players of verbal abuse. That case ended with a $75 000 fine for the organizations but Zhang’s case once again shook TSM.
The quarter million dollars in diverted payments is not Zhang’s only case of misconduct. Riot’s investigation also suggests that during his employment with TSM, Peter Zhang shared non-public information regarding TSM’s recruiting decisions, potentially in exchange for personal benefit.
It was also found out that in October last year the former coach also agreed to sell the car of a former TSM player and to send the player the full proceeds of the sale. It seems that Zhang mislead the player, informing him that he could not sell the car. In March 2022, Zhang told the player that he should assume that Peter Zhang bought the car from the player for $80 000. The former coach then paid $35 000 to the player, but the remaining $45 000 has not yet been repaid.
In addition, between January 18, 2022, and March 18, 2022, Zhang solicited a total of eight of his former players and staff members to lend him approximately $15 000. TSM became aware of Zhang’s solicitation on March 18, 2022, and took immediate action to reverse pending wire transfers. This prevented Zhang from receiving at least $20 000 more in loans, however, $4 500 remains unpaid to players to this day.
Peter Zhang released a Twitlonger explaining his side of the story, along with an apology to the affected players and staff.