ESL details anti-doping policies for ESL One Cologne

ESL One Cologne

ESL has revealed the details of its anti-doping policy for the upcoming ESL One Cologne tournament, which for the first time ever will see players subjected to randomized testing for a wide variety of substances proscribed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"Our main goal is and always will be to maintain the fair play spirit and the integrity of our competitions, and we’re confident that the anti-doping policy is an important improvement that will help us advance as a sport," ESL Head of Communications Anna Rozwandowicz wrote on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive subreddit. "It is a small, but in our eyes essential and meaningful step forward for professional gamers across all games, ESL as an event organizer, and the esports industry as a whole."

ESL originally announced that skin tests would be used to detect banned substances, but it has determined that saliva tests, conducted at random throughout the duration of the tournament, are a "better fit." The list of prohibited drugs is based on WADA's own 2015 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, but players with a legitimate prescription for medication, including Adderall—which is what started this whole business—may avoid penalties if they provide proof that the medication in question is actually required prior to the start of the first scheduled match.

Interestingly (and I won't say tellingly but we're all thinking it), the restriction on marijuana use is centered out to be somewhat more specific. "Marijuana is on the list of prohibited substances for [use] during the competition. This means that recreational use of it outside (before) the event days will not be punished," Rozwandowicz wrote. "Using it during the tournament—from the start of the first day until the end of the last day of competition—is strictly prohibited."

Players caught juicing will face sanctions ranging from deductions from their prize money or tournament points, to outright disqualification and a ban from ESL events for up to two years, depending on the circumstances of each individual case. In all cases, ESL said it will take steps to ensure the full privacy of all players involved.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.