ESL have announced reforms to their policy regarding CS:GO match-fixing and cheating, after consultation with ESIC. Resultantly, ESL are lifting the indefinite match-fixing ban placed on ex-IBUYPOWER players for ESL competitions.

The reformed policy will allow Sam “Dazed” Marine, Braxton “swag” Pierce, Keven “AZK” Larivière and Joshua “Steel” Nissan to compete in ESL produced events, such as ESL’s online Pro League. Prior to the announcement, there had been rumoured discussions between ESL and players regarding the issue, and we are yet to see whether other tournament organisers will follow suit. The announcement however will not improve the player’s’ ability to play in Major tournaments, or any other Valve sponsored events.

The players are unlikely to be signed quickly by large organisations, as organisations could deem the inability to play in Valve sponsored events as a deal breaker. The move by ESL could provoke Valve and tournament organisers to reconsider their stance on allowing the ex-IBP players to play at their events, paving the way for the players to begin competing again.

Additionally, ESL partnered with the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), who conducted a survey that encompassed the opinions of the community when considering whether a policy reformation was required. The survey used the responses of over 7000 participants to form the new set of sanctions for match-fixing, cheating and doping. The full set of sanctions can be seen below:

The following sanctions for the first offence will be implemented:

  • Cheating: Disqualification from the tournament, results voided, forfeiture of prize money, ban between 2 year and lifetime depending on age and level of player and nature/size of tournament and how the player cheated. Cheating at a competition played above an amateur level (i.e. where significant prize pool is involved, or a qualification for a professional event is at stake) should normally result in a 5 year ban, but, in aggravating circumstances, can result in a lifetime ban.
  • Match-Fixing/betting fraud: Results voided, 5 year ban unless significant mitigating factors in line with the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code or, in the presence of aggravating circumstances, a longer ban, forfeiture of prize money and monetary fine (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).
  • Doping by using performance-enhancing substances: Results voided, ban of between 1 and 2 years, forfeiture of prize money (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).
  • Competition manipulation and bribery: Results voided, ban of between 1 and 2 years, forfeiture of prize money and monetary fine (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification.

For second and subsequent offences, participants should expect far harsher sanctions and, in the cases of (a) and (b) above, in all likelihood, a lifetime ban from esports.


The move could prompt other tournament organisers to similarly consider their stance on the ex-IBP roster. Nonetheless, the move by ESL is in line with the general opinions of other players and the community regarding the issue, and there has been little backlash following the announcement. It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds over the coming months, and where the players will be.

ESL’s full announcement can be seen here.


Header photo credit: Joe Brady Photography & ESL