This story is over 5 years old.

For the First Time, an eSports League Is Testing for Performance Enhancing Drugs

ESL will randomly test players at its events for drugs.
Image: ESL

Electronic Sports League (ESL), one of the largest eSports organizations in the world, will now test players for performance enhancing drugs at its events.

"We will be administering the first PED skin tests at ESL One Cologne this August, with a view to performing these tests at every Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL ESEA Pro League event thereafter as soon as the official PED policy is established and tournament rules updated accordingly," ESL said in a press release.


Skin tests use a sweat sample to determine whether someone has drugs in their system. They can detect marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, and amphetamine/methamphetamine compounds. PharmChem is one brand that makes tests, and they've been used as evidence in several court cases in the United States.

ESL is interested in the latter. Last week, Cory "Semphis" Friesen, a high level professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, admitted he and other members of his team earlier this year, Cloud9, used Adderall, a psychostimulant usually used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall's active ingredients are amphetamines, so it should show up on a skin tests.

ESL was quick to respond to Friesen's revelation last week. Yesterday, it announced that it will take action and establish new anti-drug policies. Today, those policies are starting to come together.

"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," ESL said in an email to Motherboard.

In addition to the new random testing, ESL announced that it has partnered with National Anti Doping Agentur (NADA), located in Bonn, Germany, to help "research and determine an anti-PEDs [performance enhancing drugs] policy that is fair, feasible and respects the privacy of the players, whilst simultaneously providing conclusive testing results."

ESL said it will also meet with World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), whose headquarters are located in Montreal, Canada, to help establish international policies that can be enforced in regions like the United States, Asia, and Australia. Once this program is finalized, it will be distributed to all players participating in any competition organized, hosted, or produced by the ESL.