Valve has been busy dropping the banhammer on teams involved in match fixing scandals. But despite this, one of those squads has just reached the precipice of one of Valve’s major tournaments.
German team Winner won the ESL One qualifying tournament yesterday, securing them a spot in a final offline qualifier for the major, which will also include Cloud9, Titan and Dignitas.
The victory came after wins over 3DMax and Property, and should have been a bright moment for the squad. Instead, it has brought only more questions.
The Winner roster includes former German esports organization myRevenge players, a team that was accused of match fixing after an exhibition loss to Volgare.
MyRevenge had been heavily favored going into the match, which had been made available for betting on the popular Counter-Strike betting website CS:GO Lounge. The team not only lost, but failed to put up any sort of fight, leading many to question the result.
An investigation by CSGO Lounge identified multiple persons associated with myRevenge placing bets against the team. The players denied involvement, saying that they had played poorly simply because the match was an exhibition.
Former myRevenge player and current Winner player, Antonin “Toni” Bernhardt, sent a lengthy statement to HLTV.org in which he professed his innocence and that of his teammates, blaming CSGO Lounge’s findings on a substitute player who had briefly played with the team.
But his statement contradicts what myRevenge officials told the Daily Dot: The team dropped the players after seeing screenshots in which the players and their manager informed their friends that the game was going to be thrown and that they should bet on opposing team Volgare.
Bernhardt’s plea is understandable given that Valve has now shown a willingness to level bans against anyone proved to be involved in match fixing. The bans against the former iBUYPOWER players were quickly followed by similar decisions regarding former Epsilon players.
A decision preventing Winner from competing w need to come soon. The final qualifier will be held next week in Katowice, Poland, site of the major itself in March. And Valve surely wouldn’t want to see the team emerge victorious from the high-profile qualifying event if it plans to ban them from competing next month.
ESL still has not listed Winner as an official entrant in the qualifier.
Photo via ESL