ESL released a public statement in which they explained the current state of the academy teams and clarifying how an academy team is eligible for ESL One Cologne.
The European open qualifier for the ESL One Cologne event started this Saturday. Before this, ESL released more information regarding the ruling of the tournament and gave a reminder to all the organizations in eSports that for ESL tournaments only one license is given in order to participate . This rule also applies for the qualifying stages in the ESL tournaments, meaning that an academy and original team cannot participate in the same qualifier.
ESL said in their statement that they are willing to allow an exception on this rule on the following condition: the organization is willing to write a confirmation that at least four weeks prior to the event in which their original team is playing, their academy team will either be released out of their contracts or be sold in order for them to participate under a new organization and a new name.
For this ESL One Cologne there are eight registered academy teams that will be participating in the event. One of these is the Fnatic Academy. Fnatic’s orginal team is also invited to play in the ESL One Cologne and the organization will have to follow this new rule for the academy team to be able to participate in the tournament or else the academy team cannot participate in the event.
If the organizations adapt to this rule of ESL it will allow for academy teams to gain a lot of experience on the pro scene while they are developing their skills in eSports. However the rule clearly states that the organization has to let go of their team or sell them before they can participate in the events which equals to just dropping their academy team. It is not clear if the organizations with academy teams are willing to just let go of their teams for the experience of their players or that they will keep them in the org for further development.