Valve recently made itself abundantly clear in matters of Counter-Strike match fixing: if you're involved in a thrown match, you're banned from Valve-sponsored events for life. One team claims they were asked by their owner to do it anyway. So they quit. The team — now known as "Orgless" — was briefly under the financial wing of CSGO.one, a site where you can gamble with in-game Counter-Strike skins. While part of the organisation, they made some pretty decent strides, qualifying for the European Minor Championship and finishing top four in the first qualifier for IEM Katowice, among other things.
Recently, however, that all came to a screeching halt. Team member André "BARBARR" Möller explained to HLTV:
We are from today called Team Orgless after being proposed by CSGO.one to throw our upcoming games in Operation Kinguin. We want to make it clear that we are never going to accept such behaviour. We are now seeking support for our upcoming tournaments, such as the European Minor and Assembly Winter.
It's not entirely surprising that a skin gambling website (now there's a phrase that would turn heads outside the realm of video games) would have a vested stake in the outcome of a pro tournament. There's plenty of room for conflicts of interest there. On top of that, Operation Kinguin is not a Valve-sponsored event. It's not wholly inconceivable, then, that an organisation might think they could get away with a few dirty deals with the Eye of Sauron/GabeN directed elsewhere.
Where this story gets weird, however, is in a recent response from CSGO.one's co-owner, who goes by the handle KoltVP. Speaking with TopFrag, he claimed the whole thing was a misunderstanding — that CSGO.one only intended to gain a measure of their team's professionalism:
Few weeks ago hype rised around ex-IBP players [due to Valve's clarification of lifetime bans], and we decided to ask flash (even not team ) about what is his opinion about this things. We never offered or made our players do stuff like this. This was only work question to dot the i's and cross the t's. Organisation has to be sure in its players and their professionalism. And seems like our ex-team misunderstood us.
KoltVP went on to speculate that Orgless had received a better offer, and that was their real reason for departing.
So that's quite a tangled web. That said, I'm not entirely sure how falsely raising a ruckus about this would have helped Orgless wriggle out of their contractual obligations to CSGO.one. I doubt there was an "if we ask you to help fix a match, you can leave sans any consequences" clause in place. Who knows, though? Contracts are weird.
Regardless, despite Valve's one-false-move-and-your-career-gets-blown-to-smithereens ultimatum, I doubt this is the last we'll hear about match fixing and CSGO. As long as people and organisations stand to benefit from it, certain folks will keep trying. Here's hoping players find the courage to do the right thing and speak up.