North American match fixing scandal

From Liquipedia Counter-Strike Wiki

The first prominent match fixing scandal in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was the result of a game played on August 20, 2014 between North American teams iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com in Season 5 of the CEVO Professional League. Despite being heavy favorites, iBP was defeated 16-4.[1]

Though evidence surfaced immediately indicating that the match had been fixed,[2] the story was dismissed as rumor and blew over until a follow-up article was published on January 16, 2015 by the original journalist, Richard Lewis. In it, he reveals various pieces of leaked evidence directly implicating multiple members of the IBP team as having bet against themselves and then deliberately losing the match.[3] Lewis and Courtney Timpson, a CS:GO Lounge employee, were able to identify a large number of unusually high volume bets by Duc “cud” Pham and dboorN, who were connected to members of the iBP team. The article was confirmed by ShahZaM, who had been advised by Netcodeguides.com founder Casey Foster that the match would be thrown and had also placed a bet against the team. Foster's site was a joint venture between himself and DaZeD, captain of the throwing iBP team; the likely motivation for the fix.

On January 26, 2015, Valve released a commentary on the incident, Integrity and Fair Play,[4] which announced the indefinite bans of four of the iBP players in addition to the orchestrators of the fix. Skadoodle was the lone iBP player left unbanned, as he had declined to share in the profit from the throw. Valve was able to confirm details in the article by Lewis through inspection of inventories and transactions, noting that many high value items won during bets were transferred through to the banned individuals. In all, seven individuals were indefinitely banned from participation in any capacity in Valve-sponsored events. Valve clarified that the bans are permanent on January 5, 2016, in A Follow Up to Integrity and Fair Play.[5]

As a result of the bans of both founders of NetcodeGuides.com, the players that were signed to their team (USA LeX, USA anger, USA fl0m, USA abE and Canada hades) left immediately, reverting to the name Mythic [6].

On August 31, 2015, Richard Lewis published an open letter to Valve on Daily Dot, in which he condemned Valve for leaving the players in a state of uncertainty regarding the future of their careers due to the "indefinite" nature of the bans. CEVO responded later on in the day by loosening the bans to only restricting them from playing in their league.

On July 24, 2017, the ex-iBP squad were unbanned from ESL and ESEA events, where many players, analysts, and other influential people in the Counter-Strike community praised ESL's decision.

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