Match-fixing Allegations Mars Team Deal For E-sports Start-up

Operator 24/7 eSports hires and fires Asian eSports team in less than a month

Match-fixing raised its ugly head in the eSports sector this week when Australian start-up 24/7 eSports let go a newly appointed team formerly known as Skyred and comprising five Vietnamese Counter-Strike:Global Offensive gamers.

It has to be said that the action was prompted by caution rather than firm evidence after rumours of match fixing associated with Skyred surfaced in the Vietnamese eSports community, the publication PC Gamer reports.

24/7 eSports acknowledged that – and in particular the lack of firm evidence – in its announcement that it had severed ties with the team, explaining that the separation was necessary to preserve the company's integrity.

The move by 24/7 eSports follows a week-old IGN report concerning permanent player bans imposed by eSports organiser Valve retrospectively on 21 players in the interests of industry integrity.

The banned activity concerned alleged match-fixing over a year ago involving Counterstrike Go players in competitions at the end of 2014, and bets won of more than $10,000.

The matter has been under investigation following insider admissions to a reporter and the publication of text messages by a presumably angry former girlfriend of one of the players implicated, the publication Daily Dot reported.

The accusations concerned an allegedly thrown match in the CEVO Professional Season 5 between the favoured iBuyPower team and the NetCodeGuides, which the favourites lost by a convincing margin.

Reports indicate that the surprise victory was "…typified by lackadaisical play and strange behavior on iBUYPOWER's part."

Last week Valve posted its position and final decision on the Counter-Strike Go website, advising:

"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. To clarify, the bans for these players are permanent, and players proven to have taken part in match-fixing will be permanently banned."

The company warned: "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."

Reports in the eSports industry media indicate that professional bodies and trade associations in the sector will probably take up and enforce the ban having studied the multi-sourced evidence now available.

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