A new industry association has been established to take responsibility for the integrity of the growing eSports sector, with Ian Smith appointed as the eSports Integrity Coalition’s (ESIC) first commissioner.

ESIC was launched in London this week to ensure the integrity of professional esports. Its founder members include ESL, Sportradar, Unikrn and Betway.

The aim of ESIC is to guard the integrity of eSports and to take responsibility for disruption, prevention, investigation and prosecution of all forms of cheating, including match-fixing and doping.

As the first integrity commissioner, Smith brings with him extensive experience dealing with integrity for a number of sports, and has been working in the eSports sector for the past nine months.

During his career, Smith has worked at the Professional Cricketers’ Association, the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, the UK Anti-Doping Athlete Committee and the International Cricket Council. He’s also advised various organisations on integrity, including the Professional Players Association, EU Athletes and Uni World Athletes.

“I have spent the last 20 years working across a range of sports, involved heavily in the protection of their integrity, so I am looking forward to applying all those insights and experience to the esports ecosystem,” said Smith.

ESIC has also appointed ESL’s Anna Rozwandowicz and Unikrn’s Bryce Blum as board members, with Michele Verroken serving as anti-doping advisor and Sheridans as legal advisor.

“Integrity is paramount at ESL,” said Rozwandowicz. “We were the first esports organizer to introduce doping control at events and have since then made awareness of the issue a priority within the industry.

Unikrn's Bryce Blum said that threats to competitive integrity were a problem for every eSports stakeholder.

“Unikrn is proud to be a founding member of ESIC, which we see as the first concrete step toward creating a collaborative approach addressing this issue,” he said. “It is only by working with one another that we will be able to develop unified rules and enforcement mechanisms.”

Betway’s Anthony Werkman commented: “We’ve made significant investments in our eSports team over the past few years and are delighted to see the sport getting the recognition it deserves from the wider public. The integrity of eSports is paramount to its continued success, and we’re certain that the creation of the EISC will ensure the sport enjoys further success in the years to come.”

Sportradar’s David Lampitt added: “The world of eSport is experiencing explosive growth and it is important that the stakeholders protect its integrity in parallel. The creation of ESIC is a welcome milestone in that process.

“We have already adapted our industry-leading monitoring system to ensure it is fully tailored to the eSports environment, for example, including skins betting sites. We look forward to supporting the important work of ESIC in safeguarding the credibility of the competitions that esports fans follow and love.”

ESIC will now focus on finalising membership agreements with stakeholders and the recruitment of new members. It will also roll out anti-corruption and monitor and investigate suspicious betting in eSports markets through the support of Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System and relationships with licensed bookmakers.