What Is The ESIC Anti-Doping Code? [Everything You Need To Know]

Doping and cheating in esports is a real concern and the ESIC has established the Anti-Doping Code to try and eliminate and protect against a variety of offenses.

What Is The ESIC Anti-Doping Code? [Everything You Need To Know]

But what is the Anti-Doping Code? What is considered doping in esports and how is this dealt with?

This is everything you need to know about the ESIC Anti-Doping Code.

What Is The ESIC?

The Esports Integrity Commission (see also ‘Everything You Need To Know About The Esports Integrity Commission‘) is a not-for-profit association that was established in 2016.

It works with various esports partners to guard the integrity of esports by investigating and sanctioning any cheating committed by esports participants.

This includes behaviors such as hacking, match manipulation, and doping.

To do this, the ESIC has several different codes. They are:

Each code deals with a different area of esports that ESIC is trying to protect.

Our focus for this article is the Anti-Doping Code and everything you need to know about it.


The ESIC’s Anti-Doping Code was created to help protect the health and safety of all esports participants, as well as the integrity and image of esports.

It lays out and clarifies what is considered a prohibited substance in esports, but also allows for the therapeutic use of these substances as part of a genuine and verified treatment program.

It aims to be a deterrent and to prevent any participants from doping during esports tournaments and competitions.

If a violation of the Anti-Doping Code is discovered then the code also explains the methods of investigation and the sanctions available. It ensures that any investigation is completed quickly and fairly.

Offenses And Prohibited Conduct

The Anti-Doping Code prohibits several behaviors and considers them violations under the code. These include:

  • Any prohibited substances being present in a sample taken from a participant
  • Using or attempting to use any prohibited substances. As per the Code, attempting but failing to use a prohibited substance is still considered a violation
  • Refusing to provide a sample when asked by the ESIC as part of the Anti-Doping Code
  • Interfering, or attempting to, with any stage of an investigation
  • Possession or trafficking of any prohibited substances 
  • Conspiring or attempting to cover up a violation of the Anti-Doping Code

The Anti-Doping Code also states that it is each participant’s personal responsibility to ensure that no prohibited substances enter their body.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions

In the Anti-Doping Code, the ESIC has made provisions for any participants that have legitimate medical reasons for taking banned substances.

The participant needs to apply in advance of any esports competition they are part of, although retroactive applications can be made in emergency situations.

If it is not an emergency, a fee of £5000 (GBP) will be charged. The participant needs to show that not taking the substance would have an adverse effect on their health. 

It also needs to be made clear that the only benefit from taking the substance is a return to good health and that there is no further enhancement of performance.

If an exemption is not awarded, the participant can appeal within 14 days of the decision being made.

Testing And Investigation

ESIC can take fluid and/or hair samples from any participant in an esports tournament at any time.

These samples will be collected by an accredited third party and only analyzed in approved laboratories.

All samples are analyzed anonymously so that the testers will not be able to identify the participant that has provided the sample.

Any collected samples will only be used for the purposes of testing for violations of the Anti-Doping Code.

What Is The ESIC Anti-Doping Code? [Everything You Need To Know]

If testing shows no violations under the Anti-Doping Code, then the participant will be notified of this result.

However, if the testing does show the presence of a prohibited substance, the first step will be to check if there is a therapeutic use exemption or any possible contamination or deviation from standard procedure.

Once the result has confirmed a violation, the participant will be notified and sent a written notice, called a Notice of Charge.

This notice should detail the offense(s) committed, any alleged acts that violate the Code, and the possible sanctions.

The participant has the right of appeal and this must be lodged within 14 days of receiving the Notice of Charge.


The sanctions imposed for violations of the Anti-Doping Code vary depending on whether it is the participant’s first offense or not.

First Offense

  • a fine of up to 100 percent of the match or event prize money
  • four to eight suspension points
  • fixed term suspension of up to 24 months from the games or events

Second Offense

  • a suspension lasting between one year and a lifetime from the game, event, or all esports

Third Offense

  • a suspension of up to a lifetime from all esports

Public Disclosure

During the investigation, the ESIC will not identify any participant that is being investigated.

The only exception to this is if keeping the anonymity of the alleged party would cause further damage to the integrity of esports and any participants. 

If the investigation confirms that the Anti-Doping Code has been violated and an offense(s) has been committed, the ESIC can report the result publicly if it wishes.

If the investigation confirms that no offense(s) has been committed, then the result will only be publicly disclosed if the participant agrees.

Final Thoughts

The Anti-Doping Code created by the ESIC aims to formulate a policy that lays out the rules and regulations governing doping in esports.

It identifies what constitutes an offense, what are prohibited substances, and allows for therapeutic use exemptions.

It also details a fair and anonymous investigation procedure and makes clear what sanctions can be applied to anyone who violates the code.

We hope that the information in this article has explained the Anti-Doping Code and explained all that you need to know.

Ashley Newby