The decision follows the official establishment of a new set of guidelines by the ESIC. The ESIC determined new standardized lengths for bans resulting from a variety of offenses. Those included cheating and the fixing of results of professional matches upon which fans had placed bets.
With this new alignment, DreamHack will be unbanning players guilty of match-fixing whose bans were implemented prior to February 15, 2015. This most notably includes former players for North American team iBUYPOWER.
iBUYPOWER bans shocked the esports world
iBUYPOWER established itself as one of the premier teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with its play in 2014. The North American squad collected two ESEA titles. It beat some of Europe’s biggest teams, including Titan and Virtus Pro along the way.
For some time, iBUYPOWER was the only American team to win a premier CS:GO event with Europe’s best squads in attendance.
But the Counter-Strike world was rocked by the revelation that iBUYPOWER players had fixed the result of a domestic game. The match was against the former NetcodeGuides.com team for the promise of a financial windfall.
All persons associated with the infraction were banned. That included four of five iBUYPOWER players. It was a huge blow to CSGO in America and put fans’ and bettors’ confidence in doubt.
Effects of the bans
While iBUYPOWER was the biggest of the teams found guilty of match-fixing, they weren’t alone.
The series of discoveries made and the ensuing bans emphasized the vulnerabilities of an unregulated CS:GO betting market and a loose competitive structure without unified rules.
And given the widespread nature of esports betting in CS:GO and the importance the practice carries in driving player and spectator interest, it was no surprise when tournament organizers began cracking down.
There was much debate regarding the appropriate length for bans based on serious infractions, match-fixing included. It was generally agreed in ESIC’s work that a serious response was required to discourage the practice. It would also give bettors confidence that all professional gamers were being legitimately contested.
But clemency was often floated for early offenders like the iBUYPOWER players.
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With this decision, those players banned prior to February 15, 2015 will now have a chance to resume their professional careers through most of the competitive CS:GO calendar.
Developer Valve has continued to uphold its own bans, as have some other tournament organizers like ELEAGUE. But there should be more than enough leagues and tournaments to sustain a full-time team even without Valve’s majors.
There’s little question that we’ll soon see the former iBUYPOWER players back in action as a team. The question that does remain is which organization will see fit to step forward and fly their banner over a group of players whose actions had such an impact on CS:GO and its community.