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ESL Announces List Of Banned Substances

Remember how ESL said they would be developing anti-performance-enhancing drug policies after a CS:GO player claimed his entire team were using Adderall at an eSports event? While I was enjoying the fug of jetlag ESL announced further details on that policy including which substances will be forbidden during competition.

ESL’s Head of Communications, Anna Rozwandowicz noted in a Reddit post that the main goal when introducing these policies is “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”.

For its list of forbidden substances, ESL will be sharing the list used by NADA (Nationale Anti Doping Agentur) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). It’s here [PDF] if you want to have a scan through.

(As an aside I’d say it’s not necessarily the easiest thing to navigate. If you take Adderall as an example you won’t find Adderall listed as a banned substance because that’s the brand name for the medication not the specific prohibited ingredient. Instead you’ll need to search for those ingredients individually. In this case one of those is amphetamine. Except you won’t find it under “amphetamine” you’ll find it under “amfetamine” because the latter is the International Nonproprietary Name which is a unique global standard way of referring to the substance.)

Rozwandowicz added: “We are going to refer to this list to establish what is forbidden to use at our events. This means that no player should take drugs/medication that contain ingredients from this list, as this may cause them turning in positive tests results.”

In terms of how testing will be carried out the initial plan was to use skin tests but consultation with anti-doping authorities has seen ESL switch to saliva testing as the preferred method. “Tests will be performed at our discretion at any time during tournament days, and will take place in a designated testing area. Naturally, player’s privacy comes first.”

The idea is to start with randomised testing at ESL One Cologne. There is the potential to switch to larger numbers of tests or possibly testing all players at future events but the organisation says it will notify players it it make changes to the testing methods and policy.

Players taking prescribed medication containing banned substances must notify ESL and provide proof of the need for their medicine (doctor’s note being the usual proof) before the scheduled start of the first match. The Q&A explicitly states that use of marijuana is forbidden during competition. On the latter point, WADA raised the threshold for a positive marijuana result in an effort to minimise false positives from out-of-competition use.

“The punishments range from getting prize money/tournament points deducted, to disqualification and up to a two year ban from ESL events. We will look at each case separately and once again ensure player’s full privacy.”

I’ll be interested to see what the latter actually means in terms of the conflict between full player privacy and explaining disqualifications and bans.

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Philippa Warr

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