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Counter-Strike bans for match-fixing made permanent by Valve

21 pros were suspended indefinitely last year, now they're gone for good

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The Counter-Strike pros whom Valve suspended indefinitely on allegations of match-fixing about a year ago have had their penalties formally declared as a permanent lifetime ban.

Valve yesterday clarified that "the bans for these players are permanent," and warned that "players proven to have taken part in match-fixing will be permanently banned."

In late January and early February of last year, Valve banned a total of 21 players in advance of the $250,000 ESL Counter-Strike tournament at Katowice, Poland. The bans resulted in three teams being dismissed from all Valve-sponsored competition.

At the time of the announcement, Valve said it would not be revisiting its decision before this year. Evidently, it did, and the decision was to ban the players for good.

The bans began with a report last year by The Daily Dot that alleged match fixing in August 2014, where "multiple, unusual bets" had been placed by a pro Counter-Strike player with connections to both teams involved. Valve's subsequent investigation discovered that high-valued items won by players in that match were transferred to the person who made those bets.

"As the scene grows, it's an unfortunate reality that some individuals will seek opportunities to take advantage of their fans," Valve said yesterday. "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."