ESIC lifts suspension of CSGO coach hally: “Happy with the appeal result”

Luís Mira
João Ferreira for PGL

Dexerto spoke with Dejan Minić, the lawyer who represented Team Spirit CS:GO coach Sergey ‘hally’ Shavaev in his appeal against a suspension for use of the spectator bug.

In a brief Twitter post on September 15, Team Spirit confirmed that hally’s suspension had been lifted by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) and that the coach was free to resume his activity ahead of the upcoming Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament – the qualifying event for the IEM Rio Major. Though the verdict was delivered only on September 14, Minić told Dexerto that hally’s suspension was actually lifted by ESIC ten days earlier.

hally was one of the three CS:GO coaches attending PGL Major Antwerp who were provisionally suspended ahead of the Belgian event as part of ESIC’s investigation into the historical use of the spectator bug.

Stefan Petrescu/PGL
Without their coach behind them, Team Spirit still managed to reach the semi-finals in Antwerp

The Russian coach had the static variant of the bug in one round of a 2019 CIS Rising League Season 3 match against Dracarys, when he was coaching Espada. 9z coach Rafael ‘⁠zakk⁠’ Fernandes encountered the same variant of the bug, while Imperial coach Luis ‘⁠peacemaker⁠’ Tadeu had the free roam variant.

All three coaches had to miss the Antwerp Major, which led to fierce criticism from the CS:GO community about the timing of the suspensions, especially considering that ESIC had known about the trio’s offense since March 2021.

Of the three coaches, hally was the only one who remained suspended. peacemaker was cleared by ESIC in May, while zakk had his provisional suspension lifted in June, though he still remained subject to a ban.

“Personally, I think ESIC was fair during the appeal process, just a bit slow sometimes, which is understandable considering the number of new cases [they have] every day,” Minić told Dexerto.

“In my opinion, the suspension for the static variant of the bug was way harsher than it should have been, considering that the free-roam version was used for years in official matches. hally’s bug occurred only in the pistol round, and his team did not change its playstyle because of it. One of his players asked for a timeout so that he could reconnect, and the admin did nothing to explain how the bug reporting process should be done.”

Minić went on to criticize the fact that hally was suspended without a proper investigation, noting that Team Spirit managed to reach the semi-finals of the Antwerp Major without their coach.

“Could Team Spirit have done better with the coach behind the players?” he questioned. “Calling timeouts at the right time, cheering them on, supporting them. It’s as important as staying calm in front of a crowd.

“All things said, we are happy with the appeal result and we hope, for the sake of integrity in esports, that ESIC will continue to do its job but faster. Justice is served only when the time is right.”

At the time of the announcement of the three suspensions, ESIC said that a fourth coach attending the Antwerp Major had encountered the third-person variant of the bug. Because of the less serious nature of this variant, the coach – whose name was not given – was not provisionally suspended from the Major.

The esports watchdog said that the coach would respond to charges after the event, but no updates on this case have been provided.

ESIC did not reply to a request for comment from Dexerto in time for publication.

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