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Peruvian Dota scene shut down with a one line email from Valve

Posted by Andreea "divushka" Esanu at 25 March 2016 16:45


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Four Elite Wolves players and the ex-captain of Infamous found out only three days before the roster lock down ending time that they are not eligible to sign up on the Majors registration list.

The total of five South American players that are now banned from Valve events are:

Peru Iwo Bejar 'iwo' Kalinowski - Elite Wolves
Peru Bryan Freddy 'SmAsH' Machaca Siña - Elite Wolves
Peru Juan Carlos Tito 'VanN' Carrizales - Elite Wolves
Peru Ricardo Roman 'mstco' Sandoval - Elite Wolves
Peru Jesus 'Ztok' Carhuaricra - ex Infamous, currently playing for Archon

Almost a month ago Elite Wolves and Infamous were suspected for match-fixing during ProDota Cup third place series decider. The winnings for the third place were $500 while the loser of the match, (4th place) would have end up with no money price. The betting odds for that series were seriously favoring Elite Wolves, one of the strongest Peruvian teams in the scene. However a suspicious $3,000 worth bet was placed on Infamous who actually won the game and took the third place.

Right after the series was over, both teams were alleged with match-fixing accusations and Sam Manuelson gave an official response on reddit stating that ProDota Cup will not pay the price money to Infamous until they will provide pictures with their Huskar practice games.

I made the decision that until I don’t get picture from their scrims I will not pay them the prize pool, not because the 500$ is that much simply because I will not accept match fixing in my tournament at all and will not invite them for the future events. - Sam Manuelson

In a later edit of the same reddit post Sam Manuelson said that he did receive proof from the Elite Wolves side but nothing from Infamous:

From Ewolves side I got pictures and proves that they didn’t fix the match so from their side everything seems okay, well from Infamous still got nothing just messages that they did nothing etc, no images from scrims or anything like this. - Sam Manuelson

The alleged match-fixing series took place on 21st of February and only ten days after the incident, on March 3rd, the same ProDota Cup owner was ready to release information regarding the issue based on a personal investigation for the game and as he said back then, also based on Valve’s own investigation for the match in discussion. According to his statement for DotaBlast at that time, the two teams were cleared by Valve of any match-fixing accusations.

Valve have completed their review of the situation and have concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to indicate that any of the teams or players were involved in match-fixing. While the game play and some of the supporting documentation of bet suggestions are questionable, the investigation did not identify any cheating practices. Both Ewolves and Infamous will receive invites to the ProDota Cup 4 Americas, and Infamous will be paid their $500 winnings.

Despite all these, when two of the Elite Wolves players, namely Bryan Freddy 'Smash' Sina and Ricardo R. 'mstco' Sandoval tried to sign up on the Majors registration list they found themselves ineligible of participating at Valve’s events.

The next day, March 24th Smash and Mstco along with Jesus Alberto'Ztok' Soria - ex Infamous captain received a more than formal one line email from Valve regarding their situation:

With this elliptical form of communication that seems to define Valve’s way of dealing with official announcements, Gosugamers tried to find the missing puzzle pieces as the email that the involved players received is totally contradicting mister Sam Manuelson’s statement for DotaBlast.

A logical premise would be that either the players were involved in other suspicious betting activities and they’ve been also investigated prior or after the ProDota Cup Season 3 incident or something is not entirely right with the statement he gave.

We’ve reached to Elite Wolves manager, Gian Solari and to Infamous COO, Joe Ccasani and asked if them personally or the players involved have received any other previous emails from Valve to be informed that an actual investigation is conducted for their respective teams. 

Before we continue into this I would like to draw a parallel between the “real sports world “ that Valve said we should aim with  and the e-Sports industry.

In the “real sports” when an athlete (no matter of the discipline, from Football to Tennis or Gymnastics) has a suspicious conduct he is actually being informed that an investigation is conducted regarding the issue and in most cases he is even suspended from official competitions during the investigation time. At the end of the conducted investigation the announcement is made public by the ones in charge and all the details are revealed to the public  regardless of the results.

Sadly this is not the case with Valve and Dota 2. According to the two teams involved and even to the ProDota Cup owner, no prior e-mails or any other form of contact were made by Valve.

Gian Solari, manager of Elite Wolves

The only information that we had was through the ProDota Cup admin, who told us that no conclusive evidence was found to determine that we fixed the match. Nobody from Valve contacted us.

If Valve conducted an investigation by themselves the logical idea would be to give us the right to defend us from the accusations.

As I said before, nobody from Valve has contacted me or any of my players in order to cooperate.

Joe Ccasani, CEO of Infamous

We haven’t receive any emails or other form of information from Valve about any investigation  and all we’ve been informed was through Sam who told us that we’ve been cleared of any accusations and we will receive the $500 prize money and we will also be able to participate at his future tournaments. 

We’ve also reached to Sam Manuelson to figure out what was all about the statement he gave according to which the two teams have been cleared by Valve and it seems that the story is a bit different now. There was no actual Valve commitment at that time to investigate the ProDota Cup alleged fixed match. Last night Sam Manuelson told us the followings:

When I asked Valve and a lot of other guys to help me out with this nobody else did only an ex-Valve worker. All I told to a lot of people comes from an ex-valve worker that just checked the better ip and steam accounts / friends etc. Since I could only connect that as evidence and since that was cleared I let the teams to still play. I will not say the guy’s name because I don’t want to cause any problems for him.

As juicy as it can get as a topic for the entire community and media alike, right now it’s not even relevant if Infamous and Elite Wolves have indeed match-fixed that game or not. The only problem that arise from all this drama is how Valve chose to handle the entire situation.

If the three players in question have been found guilty by Valve for match-fixing we should expect more clarification on the matter, small things like when it happened, when and who conducted the investigation, when was the ban decision taken and most importantly for how long will these players be banned from Valve events. These details do matter and it is mandatory that they are properly announced. Is it a season, a year, a lifetime ban? No one knows.

What we do know for now is that half of the South American Dota 2 competitive scene was shut down with a one line email signed by Valve's Dota 2 Team.

After the controversial reddit announcement made by Gabe Gabe Newell during the Shanghai Major and the subsequent huge image blow taken by Valve not even a month ago, we would expect things to improve when it comes to official statements, but it seems that we are all “delusional”.

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