The Electronic Sports League is to introduce a drug testing program supported by two of the major anti-doping sports group. It follows player Kory Friesen saying he took an ADHD medicine to boost his performance and claiming other teammates did the same.
The program will be developed with Europe’s NADA (Nationale Anti Doping Agentur), though ESL will also be working with WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) to help enforce and administer the policy worldwide.
The first tests will come at an event in Cologne next month. Once the policy is ready, there’ll be testing at all major events with professional players, specifically Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL ESEA Pro League events.
According to ESL, the goal is to have a policy that is “fair, feasible and conclusive while also respecting the privacy of players.” The current rules ban players from being under the influence of drugs while playing, but there’s no testing.
The move is undoubtedly prompted by a recent interview in which Friesen — known as Semphis and formerly of the Cloud9 team – admitted using the drug Adderall during an ESL Counter-Strike game (around 7:45 in the video below.)
Adderall is a branded prescription drug derived from amphetamines. It appears that Friesen took it to boost concentration and have faster reactions. He noted that despite these benefits, it had the drawback of making it harder to process instructions on his headset from other players.
ESL says that as well as drug testing, it recognizes a need to get players more help to deal with the “physical and emotional pressure of professional gaming.”