ESIC says it would not have banned HUNDEN under different circumstances

ESIC bans 35 more CSGO Counter-Strike players for betting offences.Valve / ESIC

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has shed more light on the two-year ban handed to Counter-Strike coach Nicolai ‘⁠HUNDEN⁠’ Petersen for a breach of its integrity program.

The esports watchdog group revealed on August 27 that HUNDEN had been slapped with a two-year ban after sharing documents from his then team, Heroic, with a competitor ahead of IEM Cologne.

In the report of its findings, ESIC said that HUNDEN was locked in talks with the opposing side — whose name was not disclosed — about a career move when he shared the documents, with both teams set to attend IEM Cologne, the first international Counter-Strike LAN event during the global health crisis.

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This, according to the esports watchdog, threatened “the integrity of an ESIC member event”, the “reputation of an ESIC member”, and “the reputation and competitive integrity of esports, and ESIC’s member ESL.”

HUNDEN has been banned for two years for breaching ESIC’s integrity program

And it was because of these special circumstances that ESIC saw the case as more than a labor dispute between a company and an employee, and decided to intervene.

“In any circumstance other than those surrounding Mr. Petersen’s conduct (see our release for the specific dot points that set these out – but specifically the timing and context of his action), ESIC would not have acted to impose a sanction,” ESIC explained when contacted by Dexerto.

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Ban details

The length of HUNDEN’s suspension has been criticized in some quarters given the lack of precedence and the fact that he was previously banned for half that period for abusing the spectator bug — an offense that many would say is more serious than the sharing of information with a rival team.

However, ESIC insisted that the two cases are very different and, as such, should be looked at separately from one another.

“ESIC takes any threat to the integrity of a member event very seriously,” the esports watchdog said. “Mr. Petersen’s conduct posed a significant threat to a member’s major tournament, which had the effect of potentially undermining the competitive integrity of the match in question but secondly and consequently the whole event.

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“ESIC’s sanction is a precedential statement of the severity of misconduct around and leading up to an ESIC member event.

“This is not in any way comparable to a historical examination of coaching bug abuse, which was conducted with a comparative sanctioning model involving many other offenders.”

With HUNDEN being a second-time offender, many have wondered whether his past transgression was taken into account when the length of his new ban was determined.

But according to ESIC, HUNDEN’s previous offense “was considered but not applied in the sanctioning process as a result of a plea bargain offer.” This explains why the esports watchdog said in its report that, if HUNDEN rejected a plea deal and decided to appeal against the ban, he risked “a more onerous sanction at the discretion of the Independent Appeal Panel.”

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Reopening the bug case

On August 26, HUNDEN made a shocking claim that “some of the players” on Heroic were aware that he was using the spectator bug. In his first version of the story, HUNDEN had claimed to have acted “on my own, without the knowledge of my teammates.”

CS:GO analyst Jacob ‘Pimp⁠’ Winneche has said that it is “highly probable” that HUNDEN is now telling the truth after seeing evidence obtained by that seems to support the coach’s new claims.

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ESIC did not rule out reopening the spectator bug case if new information comes to light, but it stressed that it had not yet been presented with the evidence mentioned by Pimp and

“No information has been received to date,” ESIC said. “In the case that information is received, ESIC will investigate. ESIC is awaiting any evidence from any source that would enable ESIC to proceed.”

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