The E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) announced that it would lift its indefinite ban on the former members of North American Counter Strike: Global Offensive team iBUYPOWER on Monday.
The announcement says the decision is released in conjunction with ESL Gaming, along with clear rules being formulated for ESEA, ESL Pro League, ESL One and IEM events regarding cheating and match fixing. The rules come with the recommendation of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), and the rules stipulate that the first time offenders of match fixing or betting fraud can result in a five year ban, which can be longer or shorter depending on the circumstances of the incident in question.
The match fixing scandal is infamous in North American CS:GO. Journalist Richard Lewis uncovered evidence that showed members of iBP placing bets against their team who proceeded to throw the match against Netcodeguides.com. The report was later confirmed by Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan, who said that he was advised by Netcodeguides.com founder Casey Foster — who also put a sizable bet against iBP — that the match would be thrown.
A total of seven people were the subject of the game developer Valve’s indefinite ban; Sam “DaZeD” Marine, Braxton “swag” Pierce, Keven “AZK” Lariviere, Joshua “steel” Nissan, Derek “dboorN” Boorn, Casey Foster, and Duc “cud” Pham. The only member of the team that was untouched by the ban was Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, who declined to share in the profits after the throw. The bans were also adopted by organizations like the ESL in the interest of consistency.
The bans were points of contention for the CS:GO community, many of whom called for the ban to be lifted, saying that it was a first offense for a group of young and talented players who made a mistake, and because the decision excluded ShahZaM, who knew of the match fixing well beforehand and even placed bets of his own until the details were leaked, after which he talked with the Daily Dot about the incident.
The announcement further explains that the ESEA has been reviewing the decision since early this year given that “a lot has changed in the competitive CS:GO landscape.” As a result of the new ruling, the previously banned members will now be allowed to compete in the ESEA League with no restrictions. The players are still presumably banned from Valve events, as the developer has not yet lifted its indefinite ban.