The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has issued sanctions against 37 coaches implicated in the use of the CS:GO spectator bug, following an investigation that is bound to send shockwaves through the scene.
Following initial bans by ESL against three coaches and after an investigation by Michal Slowinski, there was an ominous sense that more was yet to come as a result of the spectator bug.
The bug allowed a spectating player (in this case, the coach of a competitive team), to have a birds-eye view from specific points on the map, gaining an unfair advantage.
ESIC commenced their investigation on September 4, and have now presented their findings. 37 coaches have been implicated.
The coaches have been banned from official tournament action for varying lengths of time, from as little as 3.75 months to 36 months for the most “aggravated” offenders.
In their report, ESIC states that they “could not ascertain, with any reasonable certainty, whether the teams related to the offending parties were complicit in the exploitation of the Spectator Bug at the time that the offenses took place. As such, ESIC will not make a comment in this regard and encourages the community to refrain from speculation on this element.”
“ESIC believes all sanctioning decisions must be proportionate, fair and consistent,” the report continues. “We have gone to great lengths to ensure the calculation of the sanctions imposed on the offending coaches comply with these standards.”
ESIC Spectator bug investigation results
The three coaches first implicated, Hunden, dead, and MechanoGun, have had their initial penalties “amended as a result of additional evidence uncovered during the investigation.” MechanoGun’s ban is extended to 36 months, dead from 6 months to 6.5, while Hunden has been reduced from 12 months to 8.
A number of coaches from high-profile, professional teams have been implicated, including former FaZe Clan coach Robert ‘RobbaN’ Dahlström, Furia’s Nicholas ‘guerri’ Nogueira, NiP’s Faruk “pita” Pita, and former Na’Vi coaches Sergey ‘starix’ Ischuk and Andrey ‘Andi’ Prokhorov. Both pita and Guerri previously addressed their use of the bug and RobbaN has since hit back at his own suspension.
Some uses of the bug date back as early as 2016, a testament to the thorough VOD review taken on by ESIC and Slowinski. The investigation was expected to take eight months, but new “techniques” and dedicated work expedited the process.
So far, only 20% of the total demos have been reviewed at this point. However, ESIC states this 20% “likely comprise the most substantial cases of abuse.”
Full list of banned CSGO coaches:
*Teams listed are at time of infraction:
- Twista (iGame.com): 15.75 months
- casle (maquinas): 10 months
- dinamito (Furious Gamer): 10 months
- ArnoZ1K4 (Evidence): 10 months
- Rejin (Tricked): 19.8 months
- glouDH (Freestyle): 10 months
- prd (Neverest): 10 months
- nook (QB Fire): 7.5 months
- rikz (DETONA): 10 months
- Apoka (LG/INTZ/BOOM): 5.4 months
- MechanoGun (Hard Legion): 36 months
- hellpopovich (9z): 10 months
- fuRy^ (DreamEaters): 7.5 months
- Solaar (Syman/k23): 10 months
- HUNDEN (Heroic): 8 months
- dead (SK/MiBR): 6.5 months
- guerri (Furia): 4 months
- pita (NiP): 10 months
- AKIMOV (Hard Legion): 7.5 months
- F_1N (Gambit Youngsters): 8.75 months
- ellllll (Imperial/paiN): 10 months
- peu (W7M): 5 months
- RobbaN (FaZe Clan): 5.5 months
- Loord (Kinguin/Aristocracy): 6 months
- ToH1o (Ex-Outlaws/Windigo): 10 months
- Andi (NAVI): 10 months
- pepik (eSuba): 10 months
- B1GGY (Heretics): 7.5 months
- chrille (Epsilon/Red Reserve): 10 months
- starix (NAVI): 10 months
- ave (North): 10 months
- rosey (Nordavind): 10 months
- LMBT_R (Hellraisers/forZe): 7.5 months
- FeTiSh (Heroic): 3.75 months
- miNIr0x (AGO) 3.75 months
- pNshr (SKADE): 3.75 months
- ruggah (Dignitas): 3.75 months
All those implicated are eligible to appeal by emailing Chairman of the Independent Disciplinary Panel, Kevin Carpenter, and setting out the grounds of their appeal.
A further report is due for release in October, which will complete the investigation.
ESIC concluded their report with a message to the CS:GO community:
“We understand that these revelations have been tough for many people within the CS:GO community, but we believe it is in the long-term best interests of the game and all of esports for integrity breaches to be dealt with head-on,” they wrote.
“We know that most coaches, players, tournament organizers, publishers and developers, fans, sponsors and broadcasters want CS:GO and esports to be clean and a fair competition between players and teams doing their very best to win. We see our job as being to ensure that that happens and that corrupt and bad actors are rehabilitated or removed.”
The sanctions issued by ESIC following the results of their investigation mean that the 37 CS:GO coaches who have been punished:
- must not actively or passively communicate with the team starting 15 minutes prior to the official match start up until the end of the match
- must not be physically present around the team starting 15 minutes prior to the official match start up until the end of the match
- must not be on the game server during official matches
- must not be on the official match channel on the Discord server
- must not be part of the official map veto process nor be in communication with the team during this process
For a full break down of ESIC’s investigation, details of specific matches where the bug was used, and an explanation of the sanctions, read the full report here.
ESIC’s decision follows Valve’s punishment against previously implicated coaches, who were stripped of the Regional Major Ranking points. It remains to be seen what action the publisher will now take in light of the new developments.