In early 2015, Valve suspended a number of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players after it came to light that they'd been involved in fixing matches and betting on the outcomes. A handful of them were ruled ineligible to compete at ESL One Katowice 2015, but at least 21 (including the seven who were banned in January) were given indefinite suspensions that Valve said would not be reviewed until 2016. Now that 2016 is here, a final ruling has been issued, and it's not happy news for the players involved.
“Back in January and early February 2015 we took action after we discovered that a small number of professional CS:GO players were engaged in match-fixing. Our decision was to ban these players indefinitely from involvement in Valve-sponsored events,” Valve wrote in a CS:GO blog post. “To clarify, the bans for these players are permanent, and players proven to have taken part in match-fixing will be permanently banned.”
“As the scene grows, it’s an unfortunate reality that some individuals will seek opportunities to take advantage of their fans,” the statement says. “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 the ban only covers Valve-sponsored events, the likelihood is that it will ultimately extend beyond that. The ESL and ESEA both said that they would honor the suspensions when they were first imposed; the ESL later added that none of the suspended players would be allowed to take part in its CS:GO tournaments “until these cases are reviewed by Valve.” I've emailed the ESL to confirm that it intends to make the bans permanent as well, but given its willingness to follow Valve's lead with the original suspension, I'd be very surprised if it changes course now.