Topic of the Week: Are ESL’s new anti-doping measures needed and will they be effective?

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Oh yes, a new question mark for a new author. Fraser’s been lost under a pile of games and is currently burrowing out, so I’ve become question master for this week and red is better than grey, even if my paintwork isn’t quite as immaculate.

Anyway: ESL recently announced changes to their drug policy after a Counter-Strike player revealed his entire team was doping during a recent event. They even let us know that this was a point they knew the sport would get to in a recent interview. What do you think about it?

For me, obviously the spirit of the change – to reduce malicious cheating via performance enhancing substances – is good. I’m a little more worried by the details. It seems very difficult to administer proper restrictions when something as simple as a cup of coffee is, to an extent, cheating. Where exactly that line should be drawn will be different from regular sports, so bringing in these outside agencies might not be as perfect a solution as it appears.

Equally, it’s strange that it took a scandal for ESL to realise this was a problem worthy of implementing changes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that they are, but if they knew this was inevitable then it should have started long ago. The speed of their reaction is commendable, but its lateness – and the implication they had no idea this was happening while assuming it was going to – less so.

As for whether they’re needed, as James Lampkin put it in the interview linked above, it was sadly inevitable that enough money would eventually be in e-sports for this to happen. We’re already seeing multiple sites pop up with betting, there have been match-fixing scandals across multiple games over the years – this is a many-multi-million dollar industry now, with all the grime and glory that brings with it.

I’ll cut that note of melodrama and ask simply: what are your thoughts, dear reader?