The ESL, the world’s largest esports network that manages global events for games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike Global Offensive, has announced the creation of a new governing body aimed to clean up esports.
Known as the World Esports Association, the new body will be half-owned by the ESL, while ten famous esports teams will each control the remaining stake in the organisation. The WESA’s aim is to behave in a manner similar to the IAAF in athletics, building a standardised industry-wide code of conduct for online game competitions.
“WESA is an open and inclusive organization that will further professionalize esports by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations, and revenue sharing for teams,” it said in a statement. “WESA will seek to create predictable schedules for fans, players, organizers and broadcasters, and for the first time bring all stakeholders to the discussion table.”
This framework of rules will cover a whole range of ethical and practical issues, such as doping tests, table sizes, and schedule clashes.
Meanwhile, a new commissioner, apparently independent from the ESL, will be announced shortly. This person will oversee key decisions and dilemmas facing the WEA.
Esports is a thriving segment in the games industry with a global audience estimated at 205 million and projections that the market will be valued at more than $1 billion by 2017. But esports is also a routine source of controversy too, with stories of drug use, match fixing, and hacking.
In July, 2015, the ESL partnered with Germany-based Nationale Anti-Doping Agentur (NADA) to research and determine an anti-PED policy that is “fair, feasible, and respects the privacy of players whilst simultaneously providing conclusive testing results.” It also met with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to “actively involve them in the making, enforcing, and further internationalizing of its policy to regions like the US, Asia, and Australia.”
In the wake of professional Counter-Strike player Kory “Semphis” Friesen openly admitting that he and his Cloud9 teammates used Adderall, the ESL implemented random PED tests at tournaments. The group’s long-term goal was to perform such tests at every event in the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One, and ESL ESEA Pro League series.
The formalisation of its policy and establishment of the WESA is a step towards detoxifying the market and helping legitimise the sport.
Ralf Reichert, chief executive of the ESL, revealed the new plans during a press conference held in London. More details will update in this story while the press conference unfolds.
The ESL is traditionally considered the world’s largest esports network. It has numerous offices across North America, Europe, and Asia.