As esports continues to grow, so too does the regulations around cheating and matchfixing, and now two Dota 2 players, Leonid 'Sonic' Kuzmenkov and Dmitri 'Ax.Mo' Morozov of team Dx, have been hit with two-year bans from future Uprising Champions Cup (UCC) competitions for matchfixing, after their match against Yellow Submarine.
There were concerns about the match, played in September in the European qualifiers for the CIS region, and after the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) investigated the match alongside Sportradar Integrity Services, they found there was reason to ban the players.
"It is always depressing to see young esports athletes succumb to the temptations that matchfixing presents," ESIC commissioner Ian Smith said. "But I remain hopeful that this decision will send a powerful deterrent message to esports athletes across the various titles and tournaments - that ESIC are more than happy to follow up questions and concerns around matches, even when those matches do not fall under our existing coverage partnerships. Sportradar's fully tailored Fraud Detection System was on hand to help us get to the bottom of the betting patterns globally and off the back of that, we have been able to underline our commitment to clean and credible esports".
James Watson, Head of esports at Sportradar, added: "We have worked with Ian and his team for a few years now, focusing on prevention and education to help ensure players and their entourages can avoid the pitfalls that fixers put around them. But sometimes it is our monitoring and detection expertise that is called upon, as it was here. As a keen and committed member of the esports community, I am grateful that, together with my team at Sportradar and with ESIC, we can work with UCC to send a clear message to fixers and the wider community about how seriously we all take this issue".
Do you think the bans are an appropriate punishment?