With The International 2015 fast approaching, E-sports organizations are carefully examining whether competing athletes are adhering to the requirements that conventional athletes would have to adhere to. That’s why ESL has decided that it will start drug testing professional gamers, after news got out that Counter Strike pro-player Kory Friesen used ADHD medication to stay on top of his game.
In fact, the Counter Strike: Global Offensive player revealed that not only he, but just about all other Cloud 9 team members had all taken the prescription medication Adderall. Consequently, ESL (the Electronic Sports League) will create and anti-doping policy, though the specifics have yet to be announced.
But with prize pools exceeding $17 million dollars (the current prize pool for this year’s International, showcasing some of the finest Dota 2 teams on the planet), it was only a matter of time until professional gamers would also fall prey to the temptation of using performance enhancing medication.
The truth is that E-sports is a fast-growing scene, where players aren’t only competing for prize money, but also for important sponsorships. So, if E-sports really do hope to be taken seriously, an anti-doping policy is not only recommended, but required.
After Friesen’s confession, the ESL partnered-up with NADA as well as WADA (the National Anti Doping Agency and the World Anti Doping Agency). This partnership will ensure that new policies will be created, enforced and internationalized.
“ESL believes it’s critical to provide a level playing field for all players and to maintain the integrity of the sport moving forward,” Trevor Schmidt, ESL Senior Manager told geek.com.
Schmidt further discussed the dramatic increase in sponsorships, prize pools and demand, so players are experiencing the same need that athletes experience when wishing to have an edge against fellow gamers.
Following Friesen’s revelations, Jack Etienne, Cloud9 E-sports team owner, dismissed the claims, insisting that the team doesn’t condone or use performance enhancing drugs. He added that, if any member of the team had taken Adderall, it would have only been as treatment for a medical condition.
We’re still waiting for ESL to work out the precise drugs that they will be banning and testing for. Moreover, the gaming league is still to determine what types of punishments will be enforced in the case of gamers testing positive. Currently, amphetamines are clearly on the list.
Schmidt insists that testing will not interfere with the way that matches are scheduled. ESL is based in Cologne, Germany, and is the largest E-sports organizations in the world, with over 6 million members.
Photo credits: GFX