Opinion: Why Kiko Lake Shouldn't Win Again
Author’s note: This is not meant to be an attack on any individual Kiko Lake team members and is not meant to be taken seriously. Enjoy the cup!
Neopian Times Legal Disclaimer: The author of this article is an avid fan of Team Faerieland and the views here do not represent that of the Neopian Times. Also, as per the advice of legal counsel, the NT would like to reinforce that all the incidents mentioned are mere allegations and not definitively proven to beyond a reasonable doubt in a Neopian Court of Law. Enjoy the Altador Cup!
It might be taken for granted that Kiko Lake has won four Altador Cup Championships. It might be taken for granted that they have returned to defend their title. As Neopians, we might even have taken for granted that Kiko Lake somehow needs all these donations every year, even after being champions multiple times. After all, shouldn’t money be pouring in from sponsors by now?
Therefore, I want to warn you that with Kiko Lake, not everything is what it seems on the surface. I would like to inform you all about the controversial side of Team Kiko Lake.
Alleged Involuntary Voluntary Donations
Let’s first look at the donations. When Kiko Lake was first starting out in the AC, it would be a fair assessment to say that they were indeed low on resources and needed Neopia’s help to stand on their own two... feet? Kikos don’t have feet, do they? Well, you know what I mean! Anyways, after winning so many times, one would expect them to catch the eyes of many Yooyuball sponsors such as EEEEEURGH!!! Inc. It would be hard to believe that such a winning Yooyuball program would always be forced to rely on donations that are involuntary. After all, how could anyone refuse a cute Kiko after they ask nicely? Other teams have noted how new the Kiko Lake team’s equipment is.
Alleged Spying on Team Practices
Altador Cup teams frequently practice during the weeks leading up to the tournament. Sometimes, teams will travel early to Altador to get used to practising and playing at the facilities, especially if they have new teammates. Fans frequently show up to watch some of the teams’ practices and potentially snag an autograph of a Yooyuball player. While Altador has a sizable local Kiko population, there was a year where a large number of Kikos showed up the practices of teams that were considered strong contenders such as Darigan Citadel or Krawk Island. Team captains started to become extra suspicious when some of the Kikos had small notebooks and would frequently write down things during the practices, raising suspicions that the Kiko Lake team was writing notes on secret plays that other teams were practising. Eventually, they complained to the Altador Cup committee who decided that practices before the tournament would be closed to the public. This angered many fans who just wanted to support their team. However, their ire quickly turned to the Kiko Lake team. The team continues to deny wrongdoing and questions from the Neopian Times about the incident are immediately referred to their legal counsel. Of course, their legal counsel also continues to deny everything.
Alleged Unsportsmanlike Conduct
The on-field incidents continue to pile up. The latest stems from an altercation after Derbu Azar (Forward – Lost Desert) got sand in her eyes. It was then alleged that the Kiko Lake team kicked sand up intentionally. While some are quick to point out that Kikos don’t have feet to kick anything, Kikos can slide along the dirt to kick up dust. Spectators have mentioned that this was what happened.
But it’s not just that. Former journeyman player, Elbin Kroe, mentioned that one time, he had to dodge a fire yooyu aimed directly at his head which was a strategy to get him to move out of the way. There were immediate complaints to the referees from the Faerieland Team, but play was never stopped. Still angry after the match, he sat in the locker room, fuming about the incident. The team had to send Queen Fyora herself into the locker room to go convince him to join the team for a meeting.
Former captain and forward of Darigan Citadel, Layton Vickles, mentioned that the Kikos bounced up and right into him in a dangerous manoeuvre that risked injury to him. After the incident, he was irate that no foul was called, and the heated exchange caused him to be ejected from the match. The Citadel ended up losing to Kiko Lake which was extremely demoralizing for the team.
And then the Roo Island team alleged that the Kiko Lake team resorted to tripping some players and played it off as multiple “accidents”, but the Rooligans were not buying the explanation.
For some strange reason, almost every call has gone the way of the Kiko Lake squad, despite them being the aggressors. This brings us to the next set of allegations.
Alleged Payments to Referees
While Kiko Lake seems to depend on donations every year, the money clearly doesn’t appear to go to new equipment, but rather something more sinister.
Multiple fans have alleged that prior to matches, the Kiko Lake players appear to be too friendly to the referees on the match, often smiling and laughing along with them. However, it appears that while this is going on, the Kiko Lake players mysteriously hand over something to the referees. Then during the match, it appears that all questionable foul calls give an advantage to Kiko Lake. While no fan has definitively seen actual Neopoints exchanged, it does appear that something is given to the officials before the match. One cannot overlook this matter lightly and there ought to be a full investigation into these officials and their calls for any bias. The teams and officials all need to be held accountable to preserve the integrity of the sport.
Alleged Feeding of Yooyus
Similarly, it also appears that the Yooyus themselves are attracted to Kiko Lake players somehow and prior to the matches, the players appear to feed some goodies to the Yooyus that are on the field for practice. As the Yooyus are petpets, they may not know better than to accept such bribery from the Kikos, but they inevitably appear to be attracted to the food. A full Yooyu tends to be slower and bouncier and the Yooyus appear to always take a favourable bounce for the Kiko Lake team when they are fed. Officially, tampering with a Yooyu is a huge no-no according to the rules. However, the Kiko Lake team has seemingly argued that feeding isn’t tampering and that other teams are more than welcome to feed the Yooyus as well. The complaints related to these allegations here are also pending investigation by the Altador Cup Committee.
Alleged Usage of Enhancing Magic/Items
The official rules of Yooyuball (Article 1, Section 5) state the following:
The usage of any magical spells or any performance-enhancing potions is strictly prohibited. Violation of such policy shall be penalized by up to and including disqualification of the contestant from future Altador Cups.
However, the Kiko Lake team has been bending these rules. The other day, Team Faerieland noticed a sweet-smelling grape flavoured liquid on the breath of their Kiko Lake counterparts. Having lived in Faerieland all her life, Valtonus Having lived in Faerieland all her life, Valtonous Rea noted that the smell was suspiciously close to that of Fyora’s Potion.
It’s important to note that Team Faerieland often faces the most scrutiny because of their magical land but has always been found to fully abide by the rules of not using any enhancing spells or substances. Other teams have reported the usage of spells meant to enhance speed or stamina.
Anyways, this was reported to the Altador Cup Committee and the issue is still pending investigation.
Alleged Usage of Non-standard Equipment
Finally, there have been reports of extra-long YYB racquets that suspiciously violate the maximum length standards set by the Committee. That explains the higher-than-normal number of steals by Kiko Lake players. Not to mention, it appears that some Kiko Lake players looked extra bouncy on the field one day and were able to use that to their advantage. Other players suspected the Kikos were using springs to gain that extra bounce.
And then there were also reports of extra hard plating on some of the padding worn by the Kikos and some players on opposing teams were hurt. However, the team was not required to change their equipment.
With all these allegations and investigations, can the Committee continue to guarantee the safety and integrity of the sport? I believe the only way this can happen is for the full suspension of the Kiko Lake team until we can get a handle on whether the Kiko Lake team committed all these violations. Should these allegations be true, the only responsible thing is an extended ban of the team and a requirement for them to take all necessary corrective action before they can be reinstated. Having an Altador Cup team is a tremendous privilege that requires a good faith effort to respect the rules and other teams. Any violation of that must be taken seriously.