Update (February 2nd):
Lag Gaming Signs Former Nora-Rengo Roster
The Japanese organisation of Lag Gaming has signed the entirety of the recently-former Nora-Rengo playing roster, with the announcement coming just a day after Atsushi "SouLBoi" Yano's contract with Nora-Rengo lapsed.
Team captain Yoshifumi "YoshiNNGO" Yukimori had the following to say regarding the signing:
Thank you for your continued support! I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of Lag Gaming! We will do our best as a team to live up to the success of the other divisions, PUBG Mobile, VALORANT, and Apex Legends!
I hope we can show a different side of us from last year, so please give us your support!
We will work hard to be a team that can play in Japan and around the world. Thank you very much for your support.
As such, Lag Gaming are likely frontrunners to become the eighth invited team to the US$308,000 Japan League in 2021, while the players may also be able to stay in the APAC North Division for 2021 if Nora-Rengo transfers the league license to Lag Gaming.
Update (February 1st):
SouLBoi Follows Teammates, Leaves Nora-Rengo as Well
The final member of Nora Rengo, Atsushi "SouLBoi" Yano, has left the team after his contract ran out and was not renewed, as announced here. This means that Nora-Rengo currently has no players or staff signed to the lineup.
As of the end of January, the contract with Nora-Rengo was terminated and withdrawn.
For future activities, please wait for the follow-up report.
I will continue to be a player, so we would appreciate your continued support. Thank you.
This announcement comes the same day as Ubisoft took the Nora-Rengo R6Share skin down from the in-game store due to the roster having insufficient players.
The organisation will now need to find five new players -- two of whom must have played in the 2020 APAC North League -- in order to retain their 2021 League spot and to regain their R6Share skin.
Original Article (January 15th):
Four-Fifths of Nora-Rengo Roster Leave Organisation
Announced at midnight in Japan, four-fifths of the Nora-Rengo roster have now been confirmed to have left the organisation.
Four players leave Nora Rengo.
Each of them has really contributed to our success.
Thank you very much.
I wish you all the best in the future.
Toya "Papilia" Miyazawa, the team's most senior player, alongside Yoshifumi "YoshiNNGO" Yukimori, Tomohisa "Simotuki" Imoto, and the newest recruit of Masahiro "Candy" Minagi have all left the organisation two weeks into the new year. However, it is unclear if they have been dropped or have chosen not to renew their contracts.
The roster's fifth core player, Atsushi "SouLBoi" Yano, has not officially left the organisation, though, either due to his contract expiring at a later date or having re-signed with the team.
The move comes after Nora-Rengo finished the 2020 APAC North season in the relegation zone, eventually having to play for its 2021 spot against eva:e, and after its former CEO, coach, and owner Yasuhiro "kizoku" Nishi had been accused of not paying players and staff.
Despite the four players having made up a majority of the roster, thus qualifying them as owners of the league slot in the old format, the new format gives power to the organisation holding a league license -- in this case, Nora-Rengo itself.
As such, if it so chooses, Nora-Rengo could fill the remaining four positions with four other players instead and continue on to play in the 2021 APAC North Division. However, the organisation could also be open to faciliate a transfer of the license to a new organisation like Electrify Esports is ready to for its own former roster.
If the former is true, it would mean that the four departed players may not play in the 2021 APAC North season at all, or may join other teams. While the players did ask for fans to remain tuned in to know more about their future, it is unclear if that future lies in Rainbow Six as players, as streamers, or in another game entirely.
Despite the expectation of the roster's departure since the wage allegations had come to light, the news comes as a stark contrast to new Nora-Rengo owner Akidog's words in November:
I’m making an effort to help our players that trust me and will keep challenging for the future of Nora-Rengo, so I’m going to recover our credibility and results step-by-step.
With the recent R6Share release of the MP5 Nora-Rengo skin, coupled with Akidog's promise that "Nora-Rengo will be back" and the departure of these four players, it could be that the team will sport four new players in the 2021 APAC North season.
Most recently, former coach Arthur "Ar7hur" Schubert had also announced that the issue of his unpaid wages had been cleared up and that he had been paid in full.
If the organisation does stay in Rainbow Six (i.e. does not sell its license to another organisation), the players of Crest Gaming (Six Invitational 2021 Open Qualifier finalists), as well as eva:e (APAC North 2020 Relegations runners-up), and Sengoku Gaming's players could be options to replace the vacant positions.
According to the rules, though, Nora-Rengo will need to sign at least one more player that had played in the 2020 APAC North season (or an international equivalent) to line up alongside SouLBoi in order to keep its league spot for 2021.
However, Ubisoft does hold the option to "revoke a license granted" to an organisation, with a license "only valid for a season of competitive play in the Rainbow Six Circuit."
As such, it seems that the rules thus allow Ubisoft to decide to give the Nora-Rengo license to another organisation come the new 2021 season in March. However, this would be an unprecedented move, especially against an organisation involved in the R6Share programme.
Keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for updates of this situation and all things competitive Siege.