It isn't just Olympians and football players who are tested for drugs - now professional gamers will be too, according to the Electronic Sports League (ESL).
According to the BBC, the ESL will begin working with the World Anti-Doping Agency in a bid to stamp out the practice in eSports. Apparently doping is already fairly common amongst gamers.
Earlier this month professional Counterstrike player Kory Friesen admitted that for one contest he was taking the mental stimulant Adderall to help him get ahead. He was fairly blasé too, saying:
"I don't even care. We were all on Adderall. I don't even give a f**k. It was pretty obvious if you listened to the comms. People can hate it or whatever."
Apparently doping has been officially banned in eSports for some time but until now no actual checks had been carried out. Our pals at Kotaku quote the ESL describing the new plan as follows:
“In order to maintain the fair play spirit of our sport, ESL has partnered with NADA (Nationale Anti Doping Agentur, located in Bonn, Germany) to help research and determine an anti-PEDs policy that is fair, feasible and respects the privacy of the players, whilst simultaneously providing conclusive testing results. Additionally, ESL will meet with WADA (World Anti Doping Agency, with headquarters located in Montreal, Canada) to actively involve them in the making, enforcing and further internationalizing of this policy to regions like the US, Asia and Australia.”
“ESL will use the expertise of NADA and WADA to create a PEDs prevention program, which will be distributed to all players participating in esports competitions organized, hosted or produced by ESL. The goal of this program is to ensure players are provided with information and structural support to help them manage the physical and emotional pressure that the highest level of competitive gaming puts on many of them.”
As Kotaku notes, the process is pretty complicated and at the moment drugs tests won't extend to online tournaments, but the big pro tournaments and players will be affected. And it makes sense too - eSports is increasingly big business, with lots of money changing hands... so it is surely essential than everyone is seen to be playing fair. [BBC]