The Chinese Dota 2 teams are oftentimes viewed as among the best in the world. The common slogan is “CN Dota, Best Dota,” which is widely spread especially considering how of the last nine years of The International, China teams have won the championship three times and been runner-up for five times. But not all is well for the team that houses Newbee.
The Newbee investigation
On May 15, the China Dota 2 Association (CDA), production company ImbaTV, and Mars Media leveled multiple match-fixing accusations against 2014 TI champion Newbee. They received a report on March 12 that indicated one of its team members, Newbee, was involved in match-fixing, and as such, benefited from throwing the matches.
An investigation was conducted by the CDA, after which the association confirmed the report and delivered a lifetime ban to all Newbee players, as well as the team manager. The announcement shared the following details regarding the incident and how the misconduct would be treated:
- CDA disqualified Newbee from the Dota 2 Professional League–China Dota 2 Association (DPL-CDA). The tournament is hosted by both CDA and Mars Media.
- A lifetime ban has been given to all five Newbee players, in addition to team manager Feng “Feng” Yiqin. As a result, they may not compete in any more Dota 2 competitions hosted by the CDA permanently.
- Newbee has been removed as one of the eight team members of CDA.
CDA has likewise distributed its evidence to other Chinese tournament organizers, such as Chinese Dota 2 publisher Perfect World, in addition to Valve. Both ImbaTV and Mars Media released similar announcements to CDA.
We’re not all to blame
Newbee also released its own statement, confirming that Feng, the team manager, was involved in match-fixing. However, the organization denied that any of the team players were involved in the conduct. The team likewise indicated that it was not satisfied with the verdict and that it would appeal the CDA’s decision.
Newbee was not just one of the best Chinese Dota 2 teams, but one of the best in the world. It won the 2014 The International tournament and earned second place in 2017. According to Esports-Earnings, Newbee is the fifth-highest earning esports team of all time, when it comes to prize money.
The problem with punishments
This incident highlights a problem in the industry, namely the lack of high authority and transparency. Lifetime bans are not a common occurrence. So it’s rather unclear as to whether the CDA, a non-profit collection of eight teams (presently seven), had the right or authority to ban an original team and its players permanently.
For example, Rogue Warriors was fined $420,000 and a two-year global ban to player Wang “Weiyan” Xiang was given for match-fixing.
Is a lifetime ban fair to the organization and its players? We don’t have the full facts regarding the extent of the match-fixing, so it’s hard to say. So the CDA may simply be trying to dissuade other teams from considering match-fixing by acting with a heavy hand. But maybe Newbee was making a lot of money from repeated violations. Who knows? Maybe more details will be shared with time.