Chinese League of Legends esports operator TJ Sports reported on Monday that the company is currently investigating a “match-fixing” claim by FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), a Chinese esports organization, naming Zhou “Bo” Yangbo, FPX’s League of Legends player.
Yangbo initiated the FPX study, according to FPX’s official Weibo, but claims that during his professional career in the League of Legends Development League (LDL), the secondary league in China’s League of Legends esports, he was coerced into it by threats from some unspecified group.
“This situation has been reported to TJ Sports by the FPX management team and Yangbo, and Yangbo will be suspended until the investigation has produced a complete result,” FPX said.
Yangbo was an LDL player and joined the FPX LPL squad in January as a rookie. Replacing player Gao “Tian” Tianliang, who left the pro scene due to chronic pain, he was expected to play FPX’s “Jungle” spot.
This culminated in a broader debate regarding match-fixing and the insecurity of younger players in the Chinese esports industry. On the one hand, conduct such as match-fixing is a serious allegation in esports or any other sport, but some argue that if a senior individual or group really threatened Yangbo, he is used as a means to an end and is an easy target to exploit or coerce because he is very young and wants to join the LDL LPL.
PFX signed a long-term collaboration agreement with the U.S. furniture design firm Herman Miller earlier this month. The official poster featured Yangbo.
TJ Sports reported that a third-party law firm would also be involved in the investigation. This situation in China will continue to be tracked by the Esports Observer as it evolves.