Pro players criticize ESL’s decision to unban former matchfixers cover image

Pro players criticize ESL’s decision to unban former matchfixers

Quinn and skiter have raised their concerns following news of ESL unbanning former matchfixers.

It has been over a year since a massive matchfixing scandal rocked the Eastern European Dota 2 scene. Ten players including notable names like Koma and Limitless were penalized with a lifetime ban from Valve. But it has recently been revealed that ESL will lift their bans at the end of 2024. And pro players are not pleased.

ESL to unban ten former matchfixers by December 2024

The Dota 2 scene has seen many players hit with the ban hammer due to the breaching of fair play. In December 2022, PGL dropped a list of names comprising ten Eastern European (EEU) players. These were players who were caught account sharing and matchfixing in the Dota 2 Champions League Season 15.

The list include names like Kamil "Koma`" Biktimirov, who is a former player for and the current content creator for Team Spirit. Among the list is also Yaroslav "Limitless" Parshin, who has played for teams like HellRaisers and Alliance. All ten players including these two received a lifetime ban by PGL and Valve. However, ESL will soon unban these players.

On January 14, Limitless shared a response he received from ESL regarding his ban penalty. In the screenshot, it is revealed that ESL will lift the ban after two years from the first offense if there are no reasons to extend it. This means that ESL will allow Limitless and the rest of the ten players to compete in its tournaments by December 2024.

"We honor all publisher bans at our events for a period of 2 years of the first offense. After this time, players can participate, although repeat offenses can also be punished with a lifetime ban from EFG (ESL Face IT Group) tournaments," the screenshot reads.

Limitless shares a response by ESL regarding his ban.<br>(via <a href="">Telegram</a>)
Limitless shares a response by ESL regarding his ban.
(via Telegram)

Skiter and Quinn speak out against ESL's decision

Following Limitless' post regarding the ban lift, two professional Dota 2 players have expressed their concern.

The International champion and the current carry player for Team Falcons, Oliver "skiter" Lepko, believes that ESL's decision is harmful for pro games. He wishes that ESL retract its decision to unban these former matchfixers.

Letting former matchfixers back into competitive Dota hurts the integrity of pro games. I wish ESL (is going) to backtrack this statement and realize the mistake they are making.

In response to skiter's post, three-time Major winner and the current midlaner for Gaimin Gladiators, Quinn "Quinn" Callahan, also jumped on the issue. Quinn labels matchfixing as the "cardinal sin" of competition and considers it unforgiveable. He also raised his concern that there will be a lack of trust when competing against former offenders.

Artificially altering who wins and loses is the cardinal sin of competition and utterly unforgiveable. Unbanning them would be completely insane and awful. That trust can never be regained, how can I play vs them knowing they aren't cheating.

(via <a href="">Twitter</a>)
(via Twitter)

Matchfixing and other offenses that ruin the integrity of competition have long infested the pro Dota 2 scene. Only last year, there were tons of significant matchfixing and cheating scandals that managed to claw its way into the tier 1 scene.

A mere two-year punishment for a heinous crime will definitely raise some eyebrows. Thus, it is no surprise that pro players are against the return of former offenders.

ESL has yet to make any official statement regarding the matter.

Stay tuned to for more Dota 2 news and updates.