Two Dota 2 players banned following ESIC and Sportradar investigation

Leonid “Sonic” Kuzmenkov and Dmitri “Ax.Mo” Morozov of Dota 2 team have, following investigation, received two year bans from future Uprise Champions Cup (“UCC”) tournaments following an investigation into their recent match against Yellow Submarine.

Ian Smith, ESIC Commissioner

There were clear concerns following the match played in the World Cyber Arena (“WCA”) European Qualifiers for the CIS region last month, and thus the Esports Integrity Coalition (“ESIC”) launched an investigation of the match in question. In addition, Sportradar, a partner of ESIC, undertook an investigation on global betting patterns and fed the report to ESIC. Sportradar are amongst the leaders in preventing betting fraud, using a unique Fraud Detection System that is applied by federations such as the NBA and FIFA. 

Following the Sportradar report, ESIC has made the decision to ban both players for two years from UCC tournaments. The event technically comes under the WCA banner, but UCC are the local tournament organisers that handled the event.

Ian Smith, ESIC Commissioner stated: “It is always depressing to see young esports athletes succumb to the temptations that matchfixing presents. But I remain hopeful that this decision will send a powerful deterrent message to esports athletes across the various titles and tournaments – that ESIC are more than happy to follow up questions and concerns around matches, even when those matches do not fall under our existing coverage partnerships. Sportradar’s fully tailored Fraud Detection System was on hand to help us get to the bottom of the betting patterns globally and off the back of that, we have been able to underline our commitment to clean and credible esports”.

James Watson, Head of Esports at Sportradar commented: “We have worked with Ian and his team for a few years now, focusing on prevention and education to help ensure players and their entourages can avoid the pitfalls that fixers put around them. But sometimes it is our monitoring and detection expertise that is called upon, as it was here. As a keen and committed member of the esports community, I am grateful that, together with my team at Sportradar and with ESIC, we can work with UCC to send a clear message to fixers and the wider community about how seriously we all take this issue”.

Esports Insider says: Invaluable work from ESIC and Sportradar to stamp out this kind of behaviour. There clearly remains an overarching issue that the ban applies to UCC only, but one would assume the wider industry will not associate with these players again. Ultimately, it should come down to Valve but that’s a whole different issue in itself, as we all know all too well.