Cycling, Esports, Edoping
The British Cycling, which is the national governing body for cycling in Great Britain, had recently stripped Cameron Jeffers of his title as the United Kingdom’s first cycling esports champion on grounds of edoping. Jeffers had used a program that allowed him to acquire an upgraded virtual bicycle without needing to cycle the required amount of time to acquire that specific virtual bicycle. Instead, Jeffers used a program to “trick” the system to make it look as if he was indeed cycling for the required number of hours.
Jeffers was disqualified from the 2019 British Cycling Zwift eRacing Championships, handed a 6-month suspesion of Licence and participation in Events commencing 19 September 2019 and was fined £250. The Disciplinary Charge states that Jeffers’ conduct constituted a misconduct under Clauses 3.1 and 3.2 (a), (c) & (h) of the Disciplinary Rules for Cycle Sport.
For the purposes of these Disciplinary Rules, ‘Misconduct’ means any conduct that is unsporting and/or has the potential to bring the sport of cycling, other Participants, Race Officials or British Cycling into disrepute.
While it is not possible to set out a definitive list of types of conduct that may constitute Misconduct, each of the following types of behaviour, without limitation, is an example of Misconduct:
(a) a breach, or multiple breaches of the Technical Regulations which the Disciplinary Officer, in their absolute discretion and for whatever reason considers sufficiently serious to constitute an act of Misconduct (including without limitation to the non-payment of levies of fines owed to British Cycling);
(c) a breach, or multiple breaches of the Code of Conduct which the Disciplinary Officer, in their absolute discretion and for whatever reason considers sufficiently serious to constitute an act of Misconduct;
(h) fixing or contriving in any way or otherwise influencing improperly the result, progress or conduct of any Event in which the Participant is participating in and/or can influence;
It must be noted that Jeffers did not employ edoping methods/mechanisms during the actual race itself but rather it was the use of edoping methods/mechanisms in obtaining that specific virtual bicycle that was used in the race.
Nonetheless, despite the cheat being employed before the race and not in the race itself, we are of the view that this affects the integrity of the esport as well. One of the cornerstones for any competitive sport or esport is integrity – the core value of which is to create a level playing field that is fair to every participant.
It takes much time and effort to obtain the specific virtual bicycle that was used by Jeffers and many participants painstakingly went through the process to acquire the said virtual bicycle. To employ a program to make it seem as if the player was cycling when in reality that player was not is not at all fair.
We had earlier penned our thoughts on edoping in a two-part article (Part 1 | Part 2). As such, it is heartening and applaudable that the British Cycling enforced its rules and regulations and sanctioned the player as it is a harbinger of the positive direction of esports towards a more professional and proper structure.