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Doping & Cheating

Addressing the eDoping Threat: Indonesia’s Legal Approach

The pursuit of athletic excellence has long been intertwined with challenges to maintain fairness and uphold the true spirit of competition. While traditional doping practices have dominated anti-doping efforts for decades, the digital age has ushered in a new frontier: eDoping. This emerging phenomenon utilizes technological methods to manipulate performance and gain an advantage. The recent controversy surrounding the “Netflix.exe” incident in the Indonesian Valorant community serves as a striking example of the impact eDoping can have on esports. Moreover, it is crucial to recognize that eDoping is not confined to the realm of esports; its influence extends even into traditional sports.

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eDoping Threat

This article delves into the intricacies of this issue within the Indonesian context. We establish a clear definition of eDoping and existing regulations. We then look at relevant case studies in the Indonesian esports community to understand what eDoping may entail. Next, we examine the real-world impact of eDoping practices on stakeholders and explore the challenges posed to detection, evidence collection and awareness efforts. Finally, we propose necessary actions to combat this threat through regulatory enhancements and collective responsibility. Thus, we aim to contribute to the discourse on preserving the spirit of competitive integrity against the novel challenges introduced by technological advancements.

1. EXPANDING THE DEFINITION AND CURRENT REGULATIONS

Before delving into the complexities of eDoping in Indonesia, establishing a precise definition of eDoping is essential. Understanding the nuanced definition of eDoping and its distinction from legitimate technological advancements constitutes the initial step in effectively addressing this issue within the sports landscape. This foundational clarity provides the groundwork for further analysis. It also allows us to examine the existing regulatory framework and its adaptability to novel forms of cheating.

The emergence of eDoping necessitates a broader understanding. Unlike its physical counterpart, eDoping transcends the manipulation of the athlete’s body and ventures into the digital realm. A stark example is the case of Nikhil “Forsaken” Kumawat during the eXTREMESLAND 2018 Finals, where his use of a certain program granted him an unnatural advantage by allowing him to see through walls and automatically target opponents, fundamentally compromising the principles of fair play.[1]

Additionally, eDoping’s effect can be felt beyond esports, infiltrating traditional sports like chess. The rise of online chess has raised concerns about possible technological manipulation, with accusations suggesting players are using chess engines to analyse positions on the fly, gaining an advantage surpassing even the capabilities of the world’s best chess grandmasters.[2] The application of eDoping in chess would also extend to cases where players receive outside communication through technological means during live games to determine the best move.[3]

Traditionally, doping has been defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Code as “the occurrence of one or more anti-doping rule violations.”[4] These violations encompass a range of prohibited substances and methods aimed at artificially enhancing an athlete’s physical performance. Examples include anabolic steroids, blood manipulation techniques, and specific masking agents.[5] However, the emergence of eDoping necessitates a broader understanding of this concept. Unlike its physical counterpart, eDoping transcends the manipulation of the athlete’s body and ventures into the digital realm. It involves the utilization of technological tools to enhance performance, create an uneven playing field, and gain a competitive advantage.

In Indonesia, WADA is represented by the Indonesia Anti-Doping Organization (“IADO”). IADO was established under the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sports as a national level anti-Doping task force that is independent and affiliated with WADA and regional anti-Doping agencies.[6] The Indonesian Sports Law also refers to IADO as the body that is authorized to regulate anti-doping in Indonesia.[7]

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Regarding its content, the specific regulation establishing IADO specifically mentions that it should adhere to the WADA Code in performing its function.[8] Subsequently, IADO’s definition of doping is identical to the WADA Code, which is that doping is the use of prohibited substances and/or methods to enhance sports performance as well as any other violation of anti-doping regulations.[9] A similar definition of doping is used in the Indonesian Sports Law.[10]

When it comes to esports specifically, the Esports Federation of Indonesia’s (“PB ESI”) Regulations take precedence, as they are the detailed rules established by Indonesia’s government-recognized governing body for esports. PB ESI is the parent organization of esports as a competitive sport in Indonesia, which the Indonesian Sports Law grants authority to enact its administrative-level policy for the field of esports, known as PB ESI Regulations.[11]

In this case, the PB ESI Regulations specifies that the use of prohibited substances or methods to gain an undeserved competitive edge qualifies as doping.[12] PB ESI has even highlighted eDoping specifically, pointing it out as an outstanding issue in the esports community.[13] Based on this, eDoping can be understood as “the use of technological methods to enhance performance and gain an underserved advantage” under the current regulations in Indonesia.

While the specific methods and technologies employed in eDoping vary across esports and traditional sports utilizing technology, the underlying principle remains the same: achieving an advantage through external means (such as exploiting algorithms, software, and technological tools) to strengthen an athlete and result in unequal starting state compared to opponents. It’s essential to distinguish that doping, in this context, focuses on enhancing one’s own performance rather than making others perform worse (which would instead fall under sabotage or unsportsmanlike conduct).

However, not all use of technological advancements in esports fall under the umbrella of eDoping. Legitimate training tools, performance analysis software, and even certain hardware upgrades do not inherently violate fair play principles. The crucial factor in differentiation lies in the intent and impact, as technologies should not provide an inherent advantage that undermines the fundamental principles of fair competition.

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2. CASE STUDIES ANALYSIS

The recent “Netflix.exe” incident in the Indonesian Valorant community sent shockwaves through the Indonesian esports scene. While the investigation remains ongoing, the allegations paint a worrying picture. During a Valorant Champions Tour qualifier, an Indonesian player named Mica was accused of using a cheat software disguised as a program named “Netflix.exe.”[14] Evidence shared by caster Bredel, included a folder named Fantech Audio found on Mica’s computer, containing the suspicious “Netflix.exe” file.

Further investigations unearthed a text file with instructions on disabling Riot Games’ Vanguard anti-cheat and activating aim assist, a feature granting significant targeting advantages. The Indonesian Esports Federation has not addressed this incident in specific but is unequivocal in its opposed stance to the use of such programs. This incident exemplifies the deceptive nature of eDoping, where seemingly harmless names mask sophisticated cheating tools, making detection even more challenging.

Another case of eDoping in the Indonesian esports scene involved player “MSCZEINFYSARC” from the semi-pro team MSC Arcane during the DGWIB tournament in 2022.[15] The player faced accusations of resorting to cheats, prompting a thorough investigation that uncovered conclusive evidence. As a consequence of these findings, the entire team faced disqualification from the tournament, while “MSCZEINFYSARC” bore the weight of a permanent ban from all official PUBG Mobile Indonesia tournaments. This incident serves as an example of the disciplinary measures that can be taken once eDoping has been identified.

These cases ignited discussions surrounding the legal ramifications of eDoping. However, navigating this legal terrain proves complex due to the absence of specific anti-eDoping legislation. While the anti-doping regulations under the Sports Law exist, their focus on traditional physical sports leaves the nuances of the digital realm largely unaddressed. Additionally, the rapid growth of esports means legal frameworks haven’t fully matured to encompass its intricacies. Here, the PB ESI Regulations offer a crucial piece of the puzzle, outlining two distinct categories of violations, which are “in-game” and “out-of-game” violations.[16]

In-game violations occur directly within the competitive sphere and encompass actions that compromise fair play. This includes utilizing unauthorized software like “Netflix.exe” or “aimbots” that grant unfair advantages, employing “jockeys” who compete on behalf of another player, and breaching the established rules of sanctioned Esports Leagues, Tournaments, and multi-sports events. Out-of-game violations extend beyond the immediate gameplay and encompass a broader range of actions that impact the integrity of the esports ecosystem. This includes misusing the PBESI name through impersonation or misrepresentation, breaches committed by professional teams such as violating employment contracts, improper player transfers, and failing to fulfill obligations to PBESI. We can see here that eDoping would fall squarely in the category of in-game violations.

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When professional athletes engage in such in-game violations, the PB ESI Regulations outline a range of potential sanctions, including[17]:

  1. Mild reprimand: For minor offenses, a verbal or written warning may be issued.
  2. Severe reprimand: More serious infractions can result in a stronger formal reprimand.
  3. Suspension/temporary suspension of membership: Depending on the severity, temporary suspension from competing or participating in PBESI activities can be imposed.
  4. Revocation of Professional Esports Athlete status: In egregious cases, the athlete’s professional status within the organization may be revoked.
  5. Dismissal from PBESI membership: The most severe consequence involves complete expulsion from the Esports Federation.
  6. Fine: Additionally, financial penalties may be levied as part of the disciplinary measures.

Analyzing the “Netflix.exe” and “MSCZEINFYSARC” cases through the lens of the PB ESI Regulations reveals clear violations in both instances. Even though the PB ESI Regulations don’t explicitly mention “eDoping,” the use of unauthorized software like “Netflix.exe” would likely fall under the category of “utilizing unauthorized software” and could incur any of the aforementioned sanctions. This is further supported by the existence of instructions found on Mica’s computer detailing how to disable Riot Games’ Vanguard anti-cheat and activate aim assist.[18] The same is true for the “MSCZEINFYSARC” case, as the evidence gathered during the investigation in this PUBG Mobile tournament was damning. The player, “MSCZEINFYSARC,” demonstrably used unauthorized cheat software, a clear violation of “utilizing unauthorized software.”

While both the “Netflix.exe” and “MSCZEINFYSARC” cases demonstrate clear violations of fair play principles, since both of these players were not registered as professional esports athletes with the Esports Federation of Indonesia, it cannot directly sanction them under the PB ESI Regulations. However, existing practice within the PB ESI shows that there are still steps that can be taken.

Firstly, the PB ESI has demonstrably imposed bans on players caught cheating, such players would be blacklisted from competing at official PB ESI-recognized events. Other than that, the PB ESI also often coordinates with game publishers, tournament organizers, clubs, and other members of the community to verify the identity of individuals being called up to represent Indonesia in multi-sports events (SEA Games, Asian Games, etc), such that individuals who have been involved in eDoping cases are guaranteed never to participate in such events.

While the current landscape might see eDoping primarily impacting competition through rule violations, the potential for escalation into positive law violations exists under specific circumstances. As an example, if the “Netflix.exe” software in the above case manipulates game data, systems, or utilizes unauthorized access methods, it could potentially fall under the Electronic Information and Transactions Act (Law No. 11 of 2008).

This Act criminalizes acts that alter, damage, or destroy computer systems or data, or interfere with their functioning. Another example would be if the eDoping software involves collection of personal data belonging to other players or spectators, which could violate Law No. 27 of 2022 on Personal Data Protection. Depending on the nature and extent of the data breach, this could lead to significant legal repercussions.

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Addressing the eDoping Threat: Indonesia's Legal Approach

3. THE IMPACT OF EDOPING

The burgeoning phenomenon of eDoping in competitive gaming and traditional sports presents multifaceted challenge with far-reaching consequences. To ensure the integrity and ethical foundation of these domains, a thorough investigation of its impact on athletes, fair competition, and the broader sports ecosystem is essential. Firstly, eDoping introduces a host of ethical and moral dilemmas for athletes involved in competitive gaming and traditional sports.

The use of deceptive software, as exemplified by the “Netflix.exe” incident places a dark shadow on the pursuit of excellence. Athletes implicated in eDoping cases face not only potential bans but also significant damage to their reputations and integrity. This threatens the very essence of sportsmanship and fair play, as competitors resort to surreptitious means to gain an advantage, undermining the principles that form the foundation of athletic endeavours.

Secondly, the competitive landscape undergoes a profound shift with the advent of eDoping. As seen in the case of “MSCZEINFYSARC” from MSC Arcane, teams implicated in eDoping incidents face severe consequences, such as disqualification from tournaments and permanent bans for players. This not only disrupts the equilibrium of competitive gaming but also raises concerns about the legitimacy of victories and the fairness of the playing field. Such incidents erode the trust and credibility within the esports community and traditional sports, posing challenges to the establishment of a level and equitable competitive environment.

Thirdly, eDoping transcends the digital realm, challenging the very integrity of sports. The use of cheat software and deceptive tactics undermines the trust placed in athletes and the sanctity of competitive endeavours. Beyond individual cases, the pervasive threat of eDoping casts a shadow on the entire sports ecosystem, prompting questions about the efficacy of anti-doping measures and the need for more stringent regulations. Maintaining the integrity of sports becomes an uphill battle as eDoping threatens the spirit of fair play, sportsmanship, and the principles that define the noble pursuit of athletic excellence.

The widespread threat of eDoping demands immediate action. There needs to be heightened vigilance from governing bodies, esports organizations, and even traditional sports institutions to protect athletes from temptation and maintain fair competition. Robust regulatory frameworks must be established to safeguard esports’ integrity and uphold the core values of sportsmanship, both online and off. Only through continuous adaptation and collective commitment can we effectively combat eDoping’s evolving threats and ensure a level playing field for all participants.

4. CHALLENGES IN ADDRESSING EDOPING

Embarking on a detailed exploration of the challenges posed by eDoping, this section delves into three key aspects: detection, evidence collection, and the crucial issue of awareness. The practice of eDoping presents a unique set of hurdles for effective detection, as it often leaves intangible footprints, contrasting with the more traceable nature of physical doping. The complexities deepen when considering evidence collection, where specialized expertise and collaboration with tech companies and cybersecurity professionals are essential, especially in an era dominated by online competitions. Finally, a notable challenge lies in the pervasive lack of awareness surrounding eDoping within esports and traditional sports communities, highlighting the need for proactive education among viewers, athletes, tournament organizers, and game publishers.

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Unlike traditional doping, eDoping operates predominantly in the digital realm, leaving behind intangible footprints that pose a significant challenge for detection. In contrast to physical substances that leave traces, identifying modified codes, hidden programs, or other types of software becomes inherently challenging, especially when there are constantly new methods of eDoping being innovated. This difficulty is exacerbated when eDoping methods utilize sophisticated techniques to disguise their presence, making it imperative to develop advanced and adaptive detection mechanisms that can keep pace with evolving methods.

The intricacies of collecting and analysing digital evidence add another layer of complexity to combating eDoping. Specialized expertise and resources are crucial for tasks such as accessing encrypted files, tracing online activities, and differentiating between legitimate software and malicious tools. Collaboration with tech companies and cybersecurity professionals becomes essential to navigate the evolving landscape of digital competition, especially in an era where online tournaments and competitions dominate. This multifaceted collaboration is indispensable to ensuring a robust and comprehensive approach to evidence collection against the elusive nature of eDoping.

Another fundamental challenge in addressing eDoping lies in the pervasive lack of awareness within the esports and traditional sports communities. Awareness around eDoping needs a significant boost among viewers, athletes, tournament organizers, referee, administrator and/or game publishers. The biggest challenge lies not just in recognizing violations, but in understanding the specific nature of “eDoping.” Many perceive it as a general rule break, unaware of its distinct category and the sophisticated methods it encompasses. This lack of awareness hinders proactive identification and effective prevention measures. Educating stakeholders about the deceptive nature of seemingly harmless programs, as highlighted in the “Netflix.exe” incident, is paramount for fostering a collective commitment to maintaining the integrity of competitive gaming.

5. NECESSARY ACTIONS TO COMBAT EDOPING

As technology continues its rapid evolution, anti-doping regulations must remain dynamic and adaptable to address emerging eDoping methods. The proactive definition of new eDoping techniques, the establishment of clear detection protocols, and the delineation of appropriate disciplinary measures are critical components of a robust defence against the clandestine practices of eDoping. Continuous revisions and updates to these regulations are essential, as a stagnant framework leaves vulnerabilities that can be exploited. These regulatory advancements aim to specifically address the challenges associated with detection and evidence collection, ensuring that the evolving tactics of eDoping are met with an equally dynamic and effective response.

Raising awareness emerges as a cornerstone in the battle against eDoping, encompassing athletes, officials, and the broader public. Educational programs and other efforts play a pivotal role in equipping athletes with the knowledge needed to identify and resist the temptations of eDoping. Simultaneously, training for officials becomes essential, enabling them to recognize suspicious activities and effectively employ detection tools.

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Public awareness fosters a culture of fair play, instilling a sense of responsibility among all stakeholders. Additionally, heightened public awareness encourages the reporting of potential eDoping cases, creating a collective commitment to maintaining the integrity of competitive sports. This measure strategically addresses the pervasive lack of awareness within the esports and traditional sports communities, forming a proactive defence against the deceptive tactics employed by those seeking to compromise fair play.

6. CONCLUSION

The emergence of eDoping as a novel form of cheating poses complex challenges that necessitate collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to comprehensively address. As technology rapidly evolves, the regulations must remain equally dynamic, coupled with extensive programs to foster awareness. Through continuously updated frameworks, proactive training, and collective vigilance, the sanctity of competitive gaming and sports can be preserved despite the threats introduced by clandestine eDoping practices. Such a collaborative effort involving all stakeholders is required to ensure the spirit of competition is protected from eDoping.

This article is part of the collaboration between ELN and K-Case Lawyer announced on 15 November 2023.

K-Case Lawyer
Addressing the eDoping Threat: Indonesia's Legal Approach

K-CASE Lawyer is a distinguished law firm based in Jakarta, boasting a team of experienced lawyers with over 10 years of expertise. Our firm has evolved under the guidance of dynamic legal professionals who previously excelled at prominent law firms in Indonesia. Rooted in a legacy of excellence since its inception, K-CASE Lawyer offers comprehensive litigation and corporate legal services.

Renowned for our prowess in the courtroom, our litigation team holds a wealth of experience ranging from District to Supreme Court representations. Complementing this, our corporate team navigates the intricate landscape of both national and international companies with finesse. Notably, we specialize in lifestyle and business industries, and hold unparalleled expertise in the dynamic realm of gaming and esports.

In a recent milestone, K-CASE Lawyer achieved extraordinary recognition by securing a spot as a finalist for the prestigious 2023 South East Asia Legal Business Awards. Our nomination in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Law Firm of the Year category underscores our dedication to excellence and innovation in the legal field and showcases that we are one of the best in the region. We have also been shortlisted as one of the leading firms to watch in Indonesia.

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[1] Nichola Daunton, ‘One map away from winning: How one player rocked Indian esports’ Euronews (9 July 2022) https://www.euronews.com/next/2022/07/09/one-map-away-from-winning-how-one-player-rocked-indian-esports accessed 12 February 2024

[2] Chess.com, ‘About Online Chess Cheating’ (10 October 2022) https://www.chess.com/article/view/online-chess-cheating accessed 12 February 2024.

[3] Alex Finnis, ‘How do you cheat at chess? The Hans Niemann cheating scandal explained and what he’s said about it’ iNews (6 October 2022) https://inews.co.uk/sport/chess-cheat-how-hans-niemann-cheating-scandal-explained-what-said-1896827 accessed 12 February 2024

[4] Articles 1&2 WADA Code 2021

[5] World Anti-Doping Code International Standard Prohibited List 2024

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[6] Article 2(1), Regulation of the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Indonesia Number 1 of 2021 Concerning the Indonesian Anti-Doping Body

[7] Article 98(3), Law No.11 of 2022 on Sports

[8] Article 3(2), Regulation of the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Indonesia Number 1 of 2021 Concerning the Indonesian Anti-Doping Body

[9] Article 1, Indonesia Anti-Doping Organization (IADO) Rules 2024

[10]Article 1(21), Law No.11 of 2022 on Sports

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[11] Article 36(5), Ibid

[12] Article 1(19), PB ESI Regulation No. 034/PB-ESI/B/VI/2021

[13] Arnidhya Nur Zhafira, ‘PB ESI highlights e-doping as an important issue in esports’ Antaranews (30 January 2024) https://www.antaranews.com/berita/3938382/pb-esi-soroti-e-doping-sebagai-salah-satu-isu-penting-dalam-esports accessed 12 February 2024

[14] Abhimannu Das, ‘Valorant’s “Netflix.exe” Cheating Hack Leaves Indonesia Challengers in Disarray’ AFK Gaming (28 January 2024) https://afkgaming.com/esports/news/valorants-netflixexe-cheating-hack-leaves-indonesia-challengers-in-disarray accessed 12 February 2024

[15] Mouza Putra Ibrahim, ‘Cheating at DGWIB, MSC ARCANE Player Permanently Banned’ Metaco.gg (11 February 2022) https://m.metaco.gg/pubg/cheating-dgwib-pemain-msc-arcane-sanksi-banned-permanen accessed 12 February 2024

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[16] Article 42 (1), PB ESI Regulation No. 034/PB-ESI/B/VI/2021

[17] Article 42 (3),Ibid

[18] Abhimannu Das, ‘Valorant’s “Netflix.exe” Cheating Hack Leaves Indonesia Challengers in Disarray’ AFK Gaming (28 January 2024) https://afkgaming.com/esports/news/valorants-netflixexe-cheating-hack-leaves-indonesia-challengers-in-disarray accessed 12 February 2024

Author

  • Yudistira Adipratama

    Yudistira Adipratama is the Managing Partner of K-CASE Lawyer, the first esports dedicated law firm in Indonesia. K-CASE Lawyer has worked with and provided legal consultation to various esports stakeholders in Indonesia, including game publishers, esports clubs, event organizers, streamers, game associations, government, and universities. Yudistira holds a key position in the policy-making process of the esports parent organization in Indonesia. He was involved in the drafting of Law No. 11 of 2022 on Sports, which recognizes esports as a competitive sport for the first time in Indonesian history. Yudistira is also the drafter of PBESI Regulation No. 034/PB-ESI/B/VI/2021 on the Implementation of Esports Activities in Indonesia, a policy that regulates the implementation of the esports industry ecosystem in Indonesia. His expertise in law and the esports industry also led him to be involved in the drafting of Presidential Regulation No. 19 of 2024 on the Acceleration of the Development of the National Game Industry. In addition to esports, Yudistira also has a deep understanding of sports law and actively serves as a speaker representing Indonesia at various high-level international conferences attended by representatives of the International Olympic Committee. Under his leadership, K-CASE Lawyer has supported Indonesia’s participation in various international multi-sports events, such as the 19th Asian Games in 2022, the 2023 SEA Games, and the 14th IESF World Esports Championships.

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Doping & Cheating

A Guide to Valorant Ban Appeals incl. Template

“Game-Bans” are by far the most common type of participation ban, especially relevant not only in the esports domain but also in casual gaming. These bans are enforced through technical means, targeting a player’s account and preventing it from participating in the game’s official online multiplayer modes, such as matchmaking services or official multiplayer servers. The following article guides you through the process of appealing such a Valorant ban.

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Valorant Ban Guide and Template

Introduction

The range of rule violations sanctioned in this manner varies from minor disruptions of other participants’ gaming experience through “griefing” to forms of toxic behavior such as insults and harassment via text or voice chat, and even to serious infringements on the integrity of the game’s inherent competition like “cheating” and “exploiting.” Consequently, the spectrum of imposed sanctions is broad, ranging from short “timeouts” lasting a few minutes or hours, to temporary bans lasting several days or weeks, up to the so-called “permaban,” which permanently excludes an account.

A more severe version of the conventional game ban is the “hardware ban,” which not only locks the penalized player’s game account but also attempts to prevent the player from circumventing the ban by using a new game account, through the detection of technical identifiers of the respective device.

Valorant, Riot Games’ free-to-play First-Person Shooter (FPS), is at the forefront imposing strict rules to ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for all participants. However, disputes arise, and players sometimes find themselves on the wrong side of these regulations, facing bans for various reasons. This article outlines the common offenses leading to account bans in Valorant and provides a detailed guide on how to submit a ban appeal.

Common Reasons for Valorant Bans

Valorant’s terms of service are designed to create a competitive and respectful environment. Violations of these terms can lead to account suspensions or bans, for reasons including but not limited to:

  • Cheating: Utilizing third-party software or any form of unauthorized assistance is strictly forbidden.
  • Boosting and Account Sharing: Engaging in boosting services or sharing accounts compromises the game’s integrity.
  • Toxicity and Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Valorant enforces a zero-tolerance policy towards in-game toxicity and unsportsmanlike behavior, which can result in temporary or permanent bans.
  • Glitch or Bug Exploitation: Exploiting in-game glitches or bugs for an unfair advantage is prohibited.
  • Excessive Fire, Queue Dodging, and AFK: Repeated offenses of game disruption may lead to penalties, although a clean record can mitigate this risk.

It is important to note that penalties are not uniform; they vary based on the severity and nature of the offense. Some violations might result in immediate and severe consequences, including extended suspensions or permanent bans. An overview of the bans is provided below (source: Riot Games):

A Guide to Valorant Ban Appeals incl. Template

How to Appeal a Valorant Ban

For players who believe their Valorant ban or penalty was unjust or wish to appeal for reconsideration, Valorant provides a straightforward appeal process through Riot Games’ official website. Follow these steps to submit a ban appeal:

  1. Visit Riot Games’ Official Website: Navigate to the support section located at the top of the page.
  2. Submit a Ticket: Click on the “Submit a Ticket” button at the top of the Support center.
  3. Log In: If not already logged in, enter your Riot account credentials to access the appeal form.
  4. Select Appeal Category: Choose “Discuss Personal Suspension and Restriction” under the type selection.
  5. Fill Out the Appeal Form:
    • In the subject field, enter a concise headline such as “Valorant Ban Appeal.”
    • Provide your Riot ID in the designated box.
    • In the description (see Template below), thoroughly explain your situation and why you believe the ban should be reconsidered.
    • Under “Inquiry,” select “Discuss Game Bans” and specify the type of ban you are appealing, whether it’s for toxicity, cheating, account compromise, or an uncertain reason.
    • Attach any relevant files or evidence that could support your case.

Valorant Ban Appeal Template

ELN (Esports Legal News) is committed to assisting players navigate the complexities of game-related disputes and bans. Understanding the challenges players face when attempting to appeal bans, ELN has developed a comprehensive template designed to simplify the appeal process.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the provided template and guidance are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Utilizing this template does not guarantee a specific outcome, such as the lifting of a ban. It is designed to help articulate an appeal in a polite and constructive manner, which could potentially lead to a reconsideration of the ban.

Each case is unique, and the final decision rests with the game’s support team or relevant authority. Individuals seeking to appeal a ban should ensure that their submissions are honest and accurately reflect their situation, as the effectiveness of an appeal can vary based on the circumstances and evidence presented.

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Please be advised that any text enclosed in brackets […] within the template should be replaced with your individual data and specific details pertinent to your case. It is essential to personalize these sections to ensure your appeal accurately reflects the unique circumstances surrounding your situation. Tailoring the template with precise and relevant information will enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your submission, ultimately contributing to a more compelling argument for the reconsideration of your ban.

Please be aware that the circumstances outlined in the template must be tailored according to the specific details and needs of your situation. The effectiveness of your appeal largely depends on the accuracy and relevance of the information you provide.

It is crucial to carefully adjust the narrative and evidence to reflect your personal experiences and the context of the ban. Honesty and a clear articulation of your circumstances can contribute significantly to the constructive presentation of your case. Remember, a personalized appeal that accurately represents your situation and adheres to the principles of politeness and constructiveness is more likely to be received positively.


Dear Riot Games Player Support,

I am writing to formally appeal the ban imposed on my Valorant account ([Your Riot ID]), effective [Date of Ban]. This correspondence seeks a review and subsequent revocation of the said ban, which I believe was issued under mistaken circumstances.

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Introduction

I, [Your Full Name], with the Riot ID [Your Riot ID], wish to appeal against the sanctions applied to my account as of [Date of Ban]. My intent is to clarify the circumstances that led to the imposition of the ban and to present evidence countering the rationale for such action.

To the best of my knowledge, my account was suspended for violating Valorant’s terms of service, specifically under the category of [Specify the Reason for Ban, e.g., “Toxicity/Unsportsmanlike Conduct”]. The notification received did not provide a detailed explanation of the incident(s) that led to this decision, thereby limiting my understanding and ability to rectify the situation.

Grounds for Appeal

I believe the ban imposed on my account was a result of a misunderstanding stemming from an incident that occurred in a match dated [Insert Date], during a high-stress competitive game. In this match, I was reported for “toxic behavior” following a heated exchange with another player [Insert Nickname, if possible]. However, I wish to clarify the context of this exchange to illustrate why the ban may have been unjustified.

The disagreement began when a team member began to intentionally sabotage our game by “throwing” or deliberately playing poorly to ensure we would lose. In an attempt to address the situation, I engaged in what I now recognize was a confrontational manner, which escalated the situation. My intention was not to harass or insult the player but to encourage a more team-oriented approach to the game.

Following the match, I took immediate steps to remedy the situation by reaching out to the player in question to apologize for my part in the conflict, emphasizing my commitment to maintaining a positive gaming environment. This exchange in WhatsApp, which I believe was received positively, is attached as Exhibit A.

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Additionally, I have always strived to uphold the community standards set forth by Riot Games, with this incident being an isolated case in an otherwise exemplary record, as demonstrated by my player history and positive interactions with the community, detailed in Exhibit B.

Given the context of the incident and my immediate efforts to resolve the misunderstanding, I believe the ban on my account does not reflect the entirety of the situation and may have been an unjustified response to a singular, resolved altercation.

Request for Review
Based on the above-stated grounds, I respectfully request the reconsideration of the ban on my Valorant account. I believe that the evidence and context provided sufficiently demonstrate that the ban either was a misunderstanding or does not warrant the severity of the current penalty.

I am fully committed to adhering strictly to Valorant’s Community Code and terms of service. I understand the importance of maintaining a respectful and fair gaming environment and hereby pledge to uphold these principles diligently moving forward.

I am willing to provide further information or clarification as required and can be reached at [Your Email Address] or [Your Phone Number]. Thank you for considering my appeal. I look forward to your response and hope for a positive resolution to this matter.

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Sincerely,

[Your Full Name]
[Your Riot ID]
Attachments: Exhibits A-[Last Exhibit Letter]

Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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Doping & Cheating

Understanding the Illegality of “Ringing” in Esports: Fisher Falcons Banned

In the highly competitive realm of esports, integrity and fair play are paramount. However, instances of misconduct occasionally surface, undermining the spirit of competition and necessitating strict regulatory measures. A recent decision involving the Fisher Falcons during their Season 9 performance highlights a severe breach of conduct known as “ringing” or account sharing. This article delves into the legalities of ringing and the related rules that govern esports competitions.

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What is “Ringing” in Esports?

Ringing occurs when a player secretly participates in a game under another person’s account. Essentially, it is the use of a “ringer,” a person brought into a team under false pretenses, typically to secure an unfair competitive advantage. The ringer is often a highly skilled player, unknown to the opposing team and not registered as part of the official team roster. Account sharing, closely associated with ringing, involves players allowing others to use their gaming accounts, a practice that may lead to a variety of competitive integrity issues, including but not limited to ringing.

The integrity of esports competitions hinges on each player and team adhering to established rules. When it comes to legal implications, ringing is treated as a fraudulent act, as it misrepresents a player’s identity and undermines the fairness of the competition. The legal framework for dealing with such issues is usually outlined in the terms and conditions or the rules of the competition. As observed in the case of Fisher Falcons, ringing and account sharing are classified as illegal (Section 2.2.5 of the Rules), indicating a clear contractual prohibition against such behavior.

The Role of MOSS in Ensuring Fair Play

MOSS, which stands for “Monitor System Status,” is an anti-cheating tool used to monitor the systems of players during matches. It is a Free to use Anti-cheat for most of the FPS competitive games. Moss is unique for it’s wide games support and macros detections features Moss. It ensures that no unauthorized programs or modifications are being used that could give a player an unfair advantage. Teams are required to retain MOSS files for the duration of the competition (Section 2.4.1 of the Rules). These files serve as essential evidence in maintaining transparency and are crucial for post-match reviews in case of any disputes or accusations of cheating.

Tier 3 Punishments and Their Implications

In the esports regulatory structure, different tiers of punishments correspond to the severity of the misconduct. Tier 3 (T3) punishments are on the more severe end of the spectrum. For Fisher Falcons, this entailed round, match, and/or season forfeiture, a clear indication of the gravity of their violation. Moreover, they faced potential competition bans for future seasons, underscoring the long-term impact such infractions can have on a team’s esports trajectory. The severity of the punishment is tailored to the seriousness of the offense and is meant to serve as both a penalty and a deterrent to other teams.

The Fisher Falcons Case: A Precedent for Compliance

The ruling against Fisher Falcons stripped them of their position in Season 9 of the CollegiateR6 Tournament, nullified any prizes, and barred them from competition until the end of Season 10. This case sets a significant precedent, underscoring the no-tolerance policy towards ringing and account sharing. The punitive measures send a resounding message to all teams about the importance of compliance with the rules to ensure fairness and integrity in esports.

Ensuring Future Integrity in Esports

The stringent enforcement of anti-ringing regulations is designed not only to penalize but also to prevent future incidents. It is a reminder that competitive integrity is at the core of esports, and maintaining a level playing field is essential for the growth and acceptance of esports as a legitimate form of competitive endeavor.

Conclusion

The esports sector is constantly changing, with laws and regulations being established and improved to guarantee fairness and honesty in competition. The example of the Fisher Falcons demonstrates the dedicated effort made by esports governing bodies to uphold the competitive essence. As esports becomes more popular and competitive, it is essential for everyone participating – players, teams, and organizers – to maintain the standards that elevate competitive gaming as a respected sport.

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To sum up, ringing is not just a violation of trust but also a major legal offense within the esports community. By working together, regulatory bodies and the community can ensure that esports thrives in a fair environment where success is based on skill and strategy, not dishonest tactics such as ringing or account sharing.

Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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Doping & Cheating

Apex Legends’ Hacking Scandal Shakes North American Finals

In a situation more resembling a cyberpunk story than an esports competition, the Apex Legends North American Finals were disrupted by a complex hack. This was not caused by typical technical issues or scheduling conflicts, but was a deliberate addition of cheats into the games of professional players, leading to a major scandal.

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Apex Legends’ Professional players found themselves unwilling recipients of game-breaking cheats like aimbots and wallhacks amidst the competition. This serious breach of integrity prompted Respawn Entertainment and EA to stop the event immediately, aiming to protect the competitive environment and investigate the breach’s extent.

Respawn’s Initial Response and Lingering Questions

While Respawn aimed to reassure with a statement about immediate actions taken, specifics about the hack were not disclosed, including rumors of a remote code execution exploit. Its statement reads:

“On Sunday, a few professional Apex Legends player accounts were hacked during an ALGS event. Game and player security are our highest priorities, which is why we paused the competition to address the issue immediately. Our teams have deployed the first of a layered series of updates to protect the Apex Legends player community and create a secure experience for everyone. Thank you for your patience.”

The situation has been further complicated by the hacker known as Destroyer2009, notorious for targeting professional players, suggesting a sophisticated ability to manipulate the game remotely.

Easy Anti Cheat (EAC) quickly clarified that the issue did not stem from their software, emphasizing their confidence in its security:

“We have investigated recent reports of a potential RCE issue within Easy Anti-Cheat. At this time – we are confident that there is no RCE vulnerability within EAC being exploited. We will continue to work closely with our partners for any follow up support needed.”

However, the breach has ignited a broader debate about the effectiveness of anti-cheat systems and the evolving sophistication of cheats in esports.

A slight decrease in Apex Legends’ Steam player count indicates community concern, though many continue to play. The incident highlights the ongoing battle between hackers and developers, underscoring the need for robust security measures in esports.

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Hacker’s Motivations Revealed

The hack, which specifically targeted two professional players during the North American finals, sent shockwaves through the community, raising concerns about the security of casual gameplay. Despite assurances from the hacker that the exploit did not extend beyond the game’s processes, the incident has left many players uneasy.

Destroyer2009 now claimed their actions were “just for fun” in a TechCrunch interview. They aimed to highlight a security flaw, urging Respawn to address it, claiming the hack was a benevolent gesture to prevent potential misuse that could ruin careers.

Respawn’s Ongoing Response

This incident ranks among the most ridiculous and shameful moments in the history of esports competitions, regardless of the game. Respawn should provide a thorough explanation of the situation, detailing what occurred, what information may have been compromised, and their strategies for preventing future incidents.

Responding to the hack, Respawn has initiated a series of updates to enhance security, emphasizing their commitment to a secure playing environment.

With information from: TechCrunch, Kotaku, and Forbes

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Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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