Ventus Gaming are allegedly withholding Mettlestate prize money – [Updated with official statement]

5 min read
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On Saturday the news broke that Ventus Gaming, an organization owned by Pieter “Cyrus” Venter, was allegedly withholding prize money from members of their former CS:GO team who competed at the Mettlestate Samsung CS:GO Galaxy Championship. The amount was R60 000, and the sources who contacted me stated that Cyrus was not paying the money until their gear, which was on “loan” from the organization, was returned to the organization as per their contractual agreement. According to my source, this was reiterated time and time again by Cyrus, and the issue here was that nowhere in the contract did Cyrus have the legal right to withhold prize money.

Below is a conversation between Cyrus and a former member, Chris “crick” Davies, of the CS:GO team. Highlighted is the most important part.

SteamLog1

The initial part of the conversation is pertaining to the termination letter, which I am still investigating alongside other members of the team. I will update once more clarity on that is given.

In this conversation Pieter Venter (Cyrus) clearly tells Chris Davies (crick), who competed at Mettlestate, that he needs the gear back before he can give him his earning from the competition, which is against the contract as shown in the excerpt from the contract which the players received. The contract was sent to me by an anonymous source as the players are prohibited via a “non-disclosure agreement” from sharing this information.

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Contract.

The reason for including the contract is due to an alleged conversation between Pieter Venter and his players where he mentioned they are contractually obligated to return all gear if they terminate the contract before its completed. This is a clause in the contract, but withholding remuneration for the gear is not part of the contractual agreement. The use of the world “alleged” is very loose at this stage as a second conversation was sent to me between Pieter Venter and “MeisterSweg,” a friend of the players who was trying to act as a mediator in this process of receiving the money for Mettlestate.

Steamlog2

In this screenshot you clearly see Pieter Venter (Cyrus) stating that it’s in the contract when it’s not. I’ve read through the Ventus contract thoroughly and there is no clause pertaining to the withholding of remuneration for ANY reason. Here is the clause regarding the gear:

conntract2

This is only the beginning, unfortunately, as there’s a bit more to this. I was told things were “being taken out of context” but it all seems pretty straight forward after receiving all these screenshots and messages. Ventus asked us to hold off on publishing this until after we received their statement which was promised by Close if Business today, unfortunately that has not yet arrived and we feel it is in the interest of the esports industry to publish.

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[Editor-Gavin]

I’ve been in touch with Pieter Venter from Ventus and I just wanted to add my opinion. Personally while withholding the money until the gear is returned does appear to be illegal I do actually support that stance. The players were loaned gear and to refuse to return it is childish. I’m hoping clearer heads prevail here and the gamers return the gear and their duly owed winnings are paid out immediately. I have been told there is more behind the story and that may well be true so lets try refrain from burning anyone at the stake until we have all the facts.

[Update] Ventus have published their statement.

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Last Updated: May 30, 2017

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Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's eSports guy. I talk about eSports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for Orena - but my work here is independent of that.

  • Guild

    Interesting read and finally getting some info on what’s going on. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and this can be sorted out.

  • Holden ZA

    Pieter should pay the money and the player/players should return the equipment if they are still within their contract period.

    Seems a bit petty from both sides at this point.

    • Guild

      Exactly. Both parties are in breach of the contract. Unless the player has completed their contract, then they entitled to the gear.

    • Nail head, imo. too may people seem to be picking sides, when both parties seem to be wrong. *shrugs*

    • Magoo

      Exactly what any mediator is going to enforce.

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    This is one of those cases where both parties are wrong and both parties are right.

    We can easily take either side in this case.

    I have so much that I actually want to say on this but again I would just be making out the obvious statement again.

    Either way, both the MGO and Players themselves have damaged their names.

    Welcome to esports 2017 gentlemen.

  • If it’s in the contract to return gear, then return it. If it’s really that pretty, tell corsair you will pay for it to keep it.

  • Both parties are wrong.

    However Ventus will most likely stand a larger chance in court. The contract states the players must pay for any equipment loss. In this case, witholding the money can be seen as covering those very real worries of the quipment not being returned.

    Since the contract is being ended early by the players Ventus do have a lot of fire power here.

    However – Both parties are wrong. Ventus should simply release the money and if the equipment is not returned, start legal action for recuperation of cost of equipment. The contract clearly states no prize money is to be kept by Ventus.

    So yeah, both sides, man up. Grow up and do the right thing here.

  • Sageville

    The correct way Ventus should have handled this:

    Ventus pays them their money and then lodges criminal charges against them for breach of contract and theft (If players then didn’t return the gear).

    The correct way Players should have handled this:

    Return the equipment you weren’t entitled to.

    The only positive way to handle this going forward:

    Players return the gear and get their money from Ventus.

    P,S, This is super petty that this even happens…

  • Gman

    Unfortunately this kind of thing seems to happen quite often in competitive gaming. This may be an unpopular opinion: I don’t think CriticalHit should have become involved in this little spat between the two, it seems incredibly petty, and unprofessional (Steam dialogue).

  • Steven Jackson

    Are you people retarded?
    Money was too be sent to players 30 days after it was received,

    The gaming industry is a business.
    I am pretty sure the owner of Ventus wanted the money to run through his payroll system.
    Not dish it out in cash…

    The previous Ventus players are nothing more than kids that don’t know the fundamentals in business management.
    If this was an issue… The Mettlestate should have paid the players directly.

    /thread

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