Outrage in Germany?

BY Andrew Miesner / March 6, 2009

ESL marred by controversy over player lodging, transportation and violence

In recent news, the Extreme Masters Global finals have been tainted by allegations of subpar treatment of players attending the major event.  The global finals which captured the attention of the world and re-ignited interest in a struggling eSports community have been battered with charges of poor housing and transportation that resulted in the hospitalization of an American star player.

News reports have been trickling in throughout the week from players claiming they were housed with local residents rather than the traditional hotel/motel accomodations.  Players state that at no point during the Extreme Masters discussions was such subpar housing discussed with them.  There have been comments made regarding housing with local families who had livestock living on the property.  Others suggest they were placed in housing which was located in less than desirable areas vis-à-vis safety.

Most of these claims were shrugged aside by global gaming media until tonight when American stand out Shaun “Hostile” Catron was assaulted and robbed, apparently on the way back to his EM assigned local housing.  According to a Winout.net interview this robbery resulted in Mr. Catron’s hospitalization.  He pulled no punches when he suggested the organization abandoned gamers and left them in poor areas:

That seems very courteous of the ESL, especially considering the incident took place after 1 AM local time.  Do you think the housing conditions provided by the ESL were part at fault for this occurence?  Did they put you up in an unsafe area?  Where are you now?

Shaun “hostile” Catron: Courteous of ESL..? they came to see me in the hospital, like they should have it’s their event. I respect them for coming and thank them for the help, but lets be real what do you expect to happen when you put people in such bad areas. I kid you not, 3 different taxi drivers could not find where we are on a roadmap, the street was not even there. Do I blame ESL entirely for this incident? No. But splitting entire teams up into 3 different houses 3 miles apart from 1 another, as well as putting us in areas that ARE NOT SAFE. you be the judge for yourself. We bought a hotel room to get the f@$! out of the s@#$hole we were put in.


Gotfrag.com reported live updates including comments from Mr. Catron.  We were contacted by his family who is outraged but felt it was best to stay off the record due to possible litigation against Extreme Masters.

At this hour we are unable to reach representatives from the Extreme Masters Global Finals. 

Unanswered community allegations and questions linger

Why were the world’s best professional gamers subjected to local housing? 

Why weren’t the gamers notified in advance that their free lodging would mean living with local residents?  Were they offered alternate forms of housing?

Was adequate and safe transportation provided as players have denied?

If said allegations are true, how will the Extreme Masters respond to these concerns in the future? 

Stay tuned for all relevant updates as this story unfolds.


Update:  ESL’s Director of Community Management David “affentod” Hiltscher has responded to the situation.

    Hey all,

    I’m here to shed some light on the allegations made here and elsewhere from the tournament organizer’s perspective. First of all, everyone here is shocked that such a thing happened to hostile. Hannover is one of Germany’s least dangerous cities, and police activity during CeBIT is very high. To put it bluntly, hostile had incredibly bad luck.

    Especially if you take into consideration that the area where he and other teams are housed is a regular residential area. Being housed in private homes is a CeBIT tradition, as there are several hundred thousand people coming to Hannover for the trade fair. Hotel capacities are very low and hotel rooms are extremely pricey and also fully booked months in advance.

    So all kinds of people stay in private houses, from company executives over staff and crew of all booths to pro gamers participating in the many tournaments here. Who ever has been to one of the previous tournaments at CeBIT like Masters I & II or SEC knows this. There is nothing unprofessional or dangerous about this fact, it’s just normal for a giant trade fair like CeBIT.

    We shuttle players from their residences to the fair in the morning and bring them back in the evening to make sure everybody gets where he needs to, and gets there safe. For all evening activities, whatever the starting point is, common sense is a requirement. Walking the street alone at night is risky in any major city.

    All rooms are booked through an agency that guarantees a certain quality. All flats and houses are in quiet residential areas. We do not book rooms in bad neighborhoods.

    We are very sorry to hear what happened to hostile, and our admins were the first to join him in the hospital. I understand, that hostile’s statements come from a deep sense of injustice, but please keep in mind that we have no interest whatsoever to cause our star players any harm, and that we do anything in our power to keep them safe and happy during their stay in Germany.

    We wish hostile a quick recovery from the shock and hope the police does its best to catch the people who did this.

    If any of you have questions about this, go ahead and post them. I’ll do my best to answer them.