Electronic Sports League (ESL), which is one of the largest eSports organizations in the world, will soon introduce and begin policing performance-enhancing drugs at its events.
The news comes after Cory “Semphis” Friesen, a high level, professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, admitted last week he and other members of his team at the time, Cloud9, used Adderall, a psychostimulant usually used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), during ESL's $250,000 tournament in Poland.
Head of Communications at ESL Anna Rozwandowicz told Motherboard in an email that it will outline the details of its new policy soon, but that for now it has "taken steps to move forward with drugs policing, education, and prevention among participants of [its] competitions."
Friesen and the rest of Cloud 9, however, will not be punished for allegedly using Adderall at ESL's event.
"We have no way of knowing whether Semphis, despite what he said, has actually taken Adderall or not," Rozwandowicz said. "We can't punish someone if we are not 100 percent sure he is guilty. And as we have no way to test it anymore (we're four months after the event), we won't take action in this specific case."
ESL is just one eSports organization, and a very important one, but its new anti-doping policies won't cover eSports in their entirety. There are other big organizations, like League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and Dota 2's The International (TI) event, which haven't responded to this latest doping scandal.
It's also a shame that it took such blatant and public admission by Friesen to see an official response to what has been a poorly kept secret for years, but it's a start.
ESports are obviously not going anywhere soon, and if they want to continue to grow and be taken seriously, organizations like the ESL will have to keep introducing regulations not only on performance-enhancing drugs, but hacking, match-fixing, and hand injuries players can suffer from over their careers.