Caster makes matchfixing "jokes"
During a swiss stage match between X13 and Detonate in the ongoing Champion of Champions Tour event in North America, the game's caster made an off-hand remark suggesting that players involved in the match were throwing on purpose. Regardless of whether the comments were meant in a joking manner, the tournament organizer FiReSports quickly received backlash for the caster's comments.
In the clip that made rounds on social media, as the game entered overtime on the first map, the caster stated "Do you think these guys are throwing on purpose just to make us look bad?". While this may have just been an unfortunate comment regarding the back-and-forth nature of the map, the caster immediately followed that up with "There's just some suspicious theories going around and I think it's one of them". The clip ends with the caster asking the chat "Do you think they are just throwing or purpose or do these players want to make more show out of what they're doing?".
While this clip instantly picked up traction, there were other instances of similar behavior that generated controversy. In another match involving X13, this time against Davenport University, a message posted in the CCT stream's Twitch chat reading "322 > prizepool", suggesting that X13's players may be throwing the match, was pinned at the top of the chat by a stream moderator. While the caster's comments in the X13 vs Detonate match might be passed off by some as an unfortunate joke, the pinning of this message by a moderator is a more overt accusation of matchfixing.
Players and fans alike quickly responded to the caster's words on social media. X13 player Austin "Austin" Meadows stated that while "CCT as a tournament organizer has been phenomenal", the caster even hinting that X13 is involved in some form of matchfixing is massively disrespectful. Johnny "JDubs" Wu, who stepped down from Detonate following the match against X13, shared a harassing DM he received accusing him and the rest of Detonate of throwing that match, theories that may have been fueled by the caster's comments.
While one can appreciate CCT's efforts to provide another avenue for North American Counter-Strike players to compete, the tournament organizer's complete lack of regard for the community's concern regarding these comments is appalling. The caster in question is still continuing to commentate on the organizer's official broadcast without public apology. Dust2.us reached out to GRID Esports who confirmed that they are aware of the situation and actions have been taken to ensure that this situation does not repeat itself. In a statement supplied to Dust2.us, Fabian Logemann, Head of Tournament Services at GRID Esports said;
We take the integrity of the competition seriously. In this instance, we were unable to confirm the accusations made and have no reason to believe there was foul play. Together with the Tournament Organiser, we are doing the work to ensure this does not happen again, which includes more detailed guidelines for commentators and a code of conduct for moderators. We have the utmost respect for all participants and want to bring opportunity to teams, players, talent and our partners in all involved regions. Lastly, we were very impressed with the solidarity shown towards the players by the NA community and look forward to building something in the region we all, as fans of CS:GO, can be proud of."