The bad news just keeps piling on with the professional Counter Strike scene. Less than a month after banning two top tier teams, iBUYPOWER and Netcodeguides, from all further sponsored events, Valve has gone on the warpath and banned three more teams.
Three professional Counter Strike Global Offensive teams due to participate in the upcoming ESL One offline qualifier at Katowice, Poland have been banned from participating by Valve. These teams are Epsilon eSports, former ESC Gaming, and WinneR. More specifically, the affected players are:
- Kevin “Uzzziii” Vernel
- Joey “fxy0” Schlosser
- Robin “GMX” Stahmer
- Morgan “B1GGY” Madour
- Damian “DiAMon” Zarski
- Michal “bCK” Lis
- Jakub “kub” Pamula
- Mateusz “matty” Kolodziejczyk
- Michal “michi” Majkowski
- Karol “rallen” Rodowicz
- Mikolaj “mouz” Karolewski
- Grzegorz “SZPERO” Dziamalek
- Pawel “innocent” Mocek
- Jacek “minise” Jeziak
These players have been banned from all further Valve-sponsored events indefinitely, and their cases won’t be reviewed until after 2016. Additionally, five more players have been specifically banned from participating at ESL One Katowice while Valve investigates them:
- Robin “r0bs3n” Stephan
- Tahsin “tahsiN” Sarikaya
- Koray “xall” Yaman
- Ammar “am0” Cakmak
- Antonin “TONI” Bernhardt
All of the above players have been banned for their participation in match fixing, and considering that the prize pool at ESL One’s CS GO tournament is valued at $250,000, it would have been very bad indeed if their shenanigans had cropped up once things got into full swing.
These bans come on the heels of a match fixing scandal involving iBUYPOWER and Netcodeguides, the former of which was considered the best CS team in North America.
Valve has since then issued a statement on the matter:
Professional players, teams, and anyone involved in the production of CS:GO events, should under no circumstances gamble on CS:GO matches, associate with high volume CS:GO gamblers, or deliver information to others that might influence their CS:GO bets.
To clarify – as a professional player, team manager or event production staff, it is common to have personal relationships and/or privileged information about other teams and players. Because of this, we will always assume that you have access to private CS:GO-related “inside information” that might give you an unfair advantage when placing a bet on any CS:GO game or match.
Betting using inside information, or even the perception or suspicion thereof, carries a significant risk of damaging your personal brand, your team, your community, and may lead to exclusion from future Valve-sponsored events.
As a result of the bans, ESL One will be scrambling together a tournament taking place tomorrow that will pit teams together for the prize of taking Epsilon eSports’ and ESC Gaming’s places. WinneR’s position will be occupied by two teams, 3DMAX and LGB eSports, who were both initially going to play a third place match in the second European qualifier.
The presence of match fixing and illegal gambling in so many high profile CS GO teams is appalling and sure to put a deeper dent in the eSport’s reputation, but Valve should nevertheless be commended for putting their foot down on this activity.