After Drug Scandal, Pro Gaming League Outlines New Anti-Doping Measures

Random drug tests at ESL tournaments will begin next month.


Not long after promising to take measures against doping in its tournaments, competitive gaming company Electronic Sports League on Thursday announced what steps it's taking to combat the issue.

With the aim of "safeguarding the integrity" of ESL tournaments and providing a fair playing field for all, the league has partnered with the Germany-based Nationale Anti-Doping Agentur (NADA) to research and determine an anti-PED policy that is "fair, feasible, and respects the privacy of players whilst simultaneously providing conclusive testing results."

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Anti-doping protocols are commonplace in traditional sports. With the rising profile of eSports, cheating is likely only going to increase, the ESL said, which makes these anti-doping measures all the more important.

"The growing visibility and popularity of esports, as well as increasing prize pools, make it not only more tempting for teams and players to break the rules, but also more damaging to our sport as a whole when they do," the ESL said in a statement today.

The group also said it plans to meet with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to "actively involve them in the making, enforcing, and further internationalizing of this policy to regions like the US, Asia, and Australia."

Leveraging the knowledge of NADA and WADA, the ESL aims to create a policy that all players participating in tournaments organized, hosted, or produced by the ESL must agree to.

"The goal of this program is to ensure players are provided with information and structural support to help them manage the physical and emotional pressure that the highest level of competitive gaming puts on many of them," the ESL said.

In the interim, the ESL will administer random PED tests at the upcoming ESL One Cologne tournament in August. The group's overall goal is to perform such tests at every event in the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One, and ESL ESEA Pro League series.

The ESL has not yet provided a list of banned substances or disciplinary measures for people caught using PEDs or admitting to having used them. But this information is coming soon. The organization also stresses that it will "remain proactive" in making sure that pro players and their managers are informed of the latest developments to the ESL's new drug policy.

These new measures come in the wake of professional Counter-Strike player Kory "Semphis" Friesen openly admitting, via Motherboard, that he and his Cloud9 teammates used Adderall during the recent ESL One Katowice tournament in Poland. "We were all on Adderall," he said. They will not be retroactively punished, however.

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