Newbee handed lifetime bans from ImbaTV and Chinese Dota 2 Professional Association on match-fixing allegations

Fallen giants.

Photo via Newbee

Chinese event organizer ImbaTV and the recentlyestablished Chinese Dota 2 Professional Association have issued a lifetime blacklist for The International 2014 champions, Newbee. 

ImbaTV and the CDA both released official statements on Weibo earlier today. The two organizations are collaborating on the Chinese Dota Professional League, which is in its second season. Newbee has been ejected from the tournament due to match-fixing allegations. All remaining series will count as a win for their opponents.

Newbee’s Dota 2 branch manager, as well as the five players on the main roster, have been banned from participating in any events organized by ImbaTV and the CDA. This includes manager Feng, TI7 runner-up Xu “Moogy” Han, Yin “Aq” Rui, Yin “Wizard, ”Yan “Waixi” Chao, and TI2 champion Zeng “Faith” Hongda. Feng has also been forbidden from being hired by CDA members for any esports-related work.

ImbaTV said it’s fully against anything that could compromise the integrity of esports and hoped that Newbee’s case would serve as a stern warning to other teams. The event organizer also urged clubs to strengthen the management of teams and players and hold out against unfair practices like match-fixing.

CDA said relevant evidence of Newbee’s match-fixing has been sent to Perfect World and Valve. The association also absolved Newbee.Y, who had split from the main Newbee banner. The CDA removed Newbee from its member charter due to their poor management and open flouting of CDA rules but has at least opened appeals until May 20.

Newbee released an official statement in response to the bans. The club acknowledged and respected the CDA’s decision, but reaffirmed that since its establishment, the Newbee organization has not participated in any match-fixing or gambling practices. Newbee will appeal the punishment for the club, but likely won’t contest it for the players or manager.

In addition, Newbee said it conducted an internal investigation when match-fixing allegations reached them. In February, a qualifier series between Newbee and Avengerls for the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor was under such suspicions. Ex-Newbee captain Zhang “xiao8” Ning even said he’d stream himself eating feces if the match wasn’t fixed.

Due to circumstances arising from online gameplay and the COVID-19 pandemic, Newbee said its communication with its Dota 2 branch was compromised and it had to rely on Feng as its sole contact. Newbee maintained that it was surprised by the allegations and that it was fully against such practices. The org said it reserves the right to pursue any individual seeking to tarnish its brand image.