World’s largest e-sports group to start drug testing in wake of Adderall scandal

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

ESL Creating PED Testing Policy Following ‘Counter-Strike’ eSports Doping Scandal.

The Electronic Sports League will begin testing professional video gamers at competitive events for performance enhancing drugs after a team admitted to taking the prescription drug Adderall before a tournament earlier this year.

Cyber athletes might not juice in quite the same way as a UFC fighter or MLB slugger, but performance-enhancing drugs are becoming a big enough concern that one of the largest pro gaming organizations in the world is about to start testing its players. “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 group said in a statement. “ESL has an ongoing commitment to safeguarding the integrity of our competitions and providing a fair playground for professional players.The eSports scene was rocked last week by a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player admitting that his entire team was on Adderall during a major tournament. ESL head of communications Anna Rozwandowicz told technology website Motherboard that the eSports organization plans “to move forward with drug policing, education and prevention among participants of competitions.” The league does not plan to take action against Cory Friesen, who plays under the name “Semphis,” or his former team Cloud9 for their actions during a Counter-Strike:Global Offensive tournament in Poland with prize money totaling $250,000, saying the drug would have passed through their systems by now, so they have no positive test on which to base a punishment. The news comes not long after Kory Friesen, a high-ranked Counter-Strike: GO player, not only admitted to using Aderrall, but also said that use of the drug was widespread. “We were all on Adderall,” Friesen said in an interview, referring to his team in the organization Cloud9.

While enforcement and testing policies are still being constructed, ESL will administer randomized PED skin tests at the ESL One Cologne this August. “Our aim is to perform those tests at every event in the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL ESEA Pro League competitions,” the organizer said. Adderall is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, but also has the side effect of making people more alert and improving reaction times, making it ideal for e-sports like Counter-Strike, where split-second reactions can mean the difference between winning and losing. While use of performance-enhancing drugs in e-sports has long been speculated — a lengthy Eurogamer report in August suggested that it was widespread — few players openly admitted to it before Friesen. While it’s not clear what kind of punishments the ESL might enforce for those caught using such drugs, the group says that the enforcement won’t be retroactive — so Friesen and his teammates won’t be punished for the admission. “We can’t punish someone if we are not 100 percent sure he is guilty,” the group says.

The organization has also partnered with some big names to help formulate its official policy, which is still in the works: In order to maintain the spirit of fair play within e-sports, ESL has partnered with NADA (the Nationale Anti Doping Agentur, which is headquartered in Bonn, Germany) to help create an anti-PED policy that is fair, feasible, and conclusive while also respecting the privacy of players. ESL will also be meeting with WADA (the World Anti Doping Agency, based in Montreal, Canada) so they can be actively involved in the making, enforcing, and dissemination of this policy to additional regions such as the US, Asia, and Australia. There’s no timeline for when the official policy will be instated, but the ESL says that “we will remain proactive in ensuring all professional players and organizations involved in ESL competitions will be kept informed of the initiative’s progress.”

As the prize pools for eSports has grown into the millions of dollars and tournaments are packing in stadiums, the temptation to use PEDs has only increased.

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