Yesterday, ESL announced that it’s working on new policies to deal with doping in e-sport tournaments. This was accompanied by the announcement that, from ESL One Cologne onward, ESL will carry out random drug tests on players.
“We’ve believed for some time that the stakes in esports would eventually reach a stage where performance enhancing drugs would begin to be a challenge we’d have to tackle,” ESL’s VP of programming, James Lampkin, told us today. “While we have an existing ban on all drug usage in our events, the recent claims from a top Counter-Strike player that his team had used amphetamines while competing in our most recent major event was the catalyst for us to aggressively pursue new measures to protect our tournament integrity.”
As ESL revealed yesterday, it’s going to be working with two anti-doping agencies (NADA and WADA) to create new policies and strategies in regards to performing enhancing drugs, and to enforce the new rules and administer drug tests.
The consequences for doping have not been revealed, yet, but ESL will be making all players aware of them before ESL One Cologne. An appeals process is planned, as well.
“Our goal is to create a larger organizational body including an appeals process for players,” continued Lampkin. “We are very aware of the need for medications and luckily the anti-doping agencies have experience in dealing with these claims. We expect to follow standard world wide models for sports.”
So far, ESL hasn’t received any negative backlash for its change in policy.
“We have received no direct negative feedback from players and most teams and players we have spoken to are embracing our drive to create an equal playing field for all competitors. An important goal for us is to balance the concerns of player privacy with the essential protection of the integrity of our sport and maintaining the fairest competitive environment for all players.”
ESL One Cologne kicks off on August 22nd.