The Electronic Sports League (ESL) announced its initiation Thursday of a program to combat the use of performance enhancement drugs in professional gaming.
The recent growth of competitive gaming, or eSports, has intensified both the pressure and the prize for players participating.
“With the explosive growth of our events and industry, the stakes have gotten to a point where, just like traditional athletes, some have begun to look for that extra edge,” James Lampkin, vice president of pro gaming for the ESL told ESPN.com. “With knowledge that there was likely active abuse of PEDs taking place, we immediately began serious discussions with top drug agencies for methods of prevention.”
In May, ESL’s managing director Michal Blicharz told Eurogamer that he did not consider doping a big issue in the eSports community.
This statement stood in stark contrast to a recent confession by Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen, a high ranking, professional “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” player, to using Adderall at an ESL event One Katowice. competing for the prize of $250,000. Starting at 7:44, Semphis can be seen revealing it here:
According to Raul Zaha of GamingRespawn, the introduction methods of drug testing was accelerated by this revelation. Partnering with the German-based Nationale Anti Doping Agentur, the ESL will exercise skin testing as soon as August for the ESL One event, which will take place in Germany.