Valve: "Match-fixing bans permanent"
Valve has announced that players involved in match-fixing activities are permanently banned from its tournaments.
Exactly one year ago, match-fixing became a hot topic in the Counter-Strike scene as a report from the Daily Dot's Richard Lewis revealed that the former iBUYPOWER team had lost a CEVO match on purpose to profit from high-value bets placed by smurf accounts on the opposing team.
An investigation launched by Valve resulted in indefinite bans being handed out to seven people, including ex-iBP quartet Sam "DaZeD" Marine, Braxton "swag" Pierce, Keven "AZK" Lariviere and Joshua "steel" Nissan.
Four ex-members of iBP are permanently banned
Months later, a similar case rocked the French scene as four of Epsilon's players were found guilty of profiting from an ESEA Invite match. When announcing these bans, Valve stated that the restrictions would "not be re-evaluated before 2016", which many interpreted as a sign that match-fixing suspensions could eventually be lifted.
Robin "GMX" Stahmer and Joey "fxy0" Schlosser - two of Epsilon's players involved in the scandal - recently returned to action and joined professional teams, while some of the ex-iBP members competed at small offline tournaments in 2015.
But these players' hopes of ever attending a major again have now been quashed by Valve, which, in a blog post, declared that all those who have been found guilty of match-fixing are banned for life, in order to ensure that the integrity of top-flight competition "can never be called into question."
"To clarify, the bans for these players are permanent, and players proven to have taken part in match-fixing will be permanently banned," Valve wrote.
"We will continue to take whatever action we think is necessary to protect the entertainment value created by professional Counter-Strike, including, on occasion, terminating our relationship with individuals who have demonstrated a willingness to exploit their fans’ faith in the integrity of the sport.
"While bans can be disruptive and painful to some members of the community, they are sometimes necessary."