ESIC issues bans to 37 coaches for spectator bug use
The esports watchdog association says that revealing these integrity breaches is necessary for the "long term best interests of the game and all of esports".
The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) announced on Monday that it has banned 37 coaches for periods ranging from 3.75 to 36 months as part of an investigation into the spectator bug abuse in the CS:GO scene. The esports watchdog is planning to release just one more report on the matter as it hopes to finish its probe by the end of October.
Some of the bans handed out on Monday involve coaches who had never been associated with the bug before. These include former NAVI coach Sergey "starix" Ischuk — who revealed on September 1 that he had known about the bug for "four years, like many other people" —, OG's Casper "ruggah" Due, BOOM's Alessandro "Apoka" Marcucci and ex-FaZe coach Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström.
The 15 coaches mentioned in our recap article about the spectator bug all appear on ESIC's preliminary list, including FURIA's Nicholas "guerri" Nogueira, who has been banned for four months for using the bug on two ECS Season 7 Week 2 maps against Luminosity and Complexity, and MOUZ' Allan "Rejin" Petersen, who has been suspended for nearly 20 months for seven cases of bug abuse during his time with Tricked.
"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," ESIC said.
"We know that most coaches, players, tournament organisers, 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 first coaches to be implicated in the spectator bug scandal, on August 31, Aleksandr "zoneR" Bogatiryev, Ricardo "dead" Sinigaglia and Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen, all had their initial bans amended after ESIC uncovered additional evidence during the probe and attributed concessions. The Brazilian's ban has been extended from 6 to 6.5 months, while the Dane's suspension has been reduced by four months to 8. In zoneR's case, the esports watchdog decided to increase the ban from 24 to 36 months, giving the Russian the maximum penalty after he was caught using the bug in 424 rounds across 16 maps.
ESIC says that it has already combed through 20% of the 99,650 demos that it has available for review, which were obtained by accessing the databases of both HLTV.org and ESEA. However, the association adds that the demos that it has already analysed "likely comprise the most substantial cases of abuse", and points out that, of the 99,650 demos, only 0.1% have so far been flagged for "a positive indication of spectator bug abuse".
In analysing the demo sample, ESIC was able identify trends in abuse of the spectator bug and created a matrix of sanctioning tiers based on the frequency (number of cases) and duration (number of rounds) of the offense. It established four tiers of sanctions, with bans ranging from 5 to 36 months. Meanwhile, it also created a concessions matrix to standardize the process that gave offending coaches the chance to have their suspensions reduced under certain circumstances, which included confessions and assistance in the investigation.
The concession allowances included:
Confession prior to the investigation announcement - 40% ban period reduction
Confession accepted in full - 25% ban period reduction
Confession accepted partially - 12.5% ban period reduction
Assistance in the investigation - 20% ban period reduction
Below you can find the list of the 37 coaches who have been suspended and their respective bans:
Slaava "Twista" Räsänen (2 cases) - 15.75 months (12.50% concessions)
Peter "casle" Ardenskjold (2) - 10 months (0%)
Rodrigo "dinamo" Haro (2) - 10 months (0%)
Arno "ArnoZ1K4" Junior (1) - 10 months (0%)
Allan "Rejin" Petersen (7) - 19.8 months (45%)
Eliomar "glou" Hernandez (2) - 10 months (0%)
Arthur "prd" Resende (5) - 10 months (0%)
Alexey "NooK" Kozlovskiy (1) - 7.5 months (25%)
Henrique "rikz" Waku (1) - 10 months (0%)
Alessandro "Apoka" Marcucci (6) - 5.4 months (85%)
Aleksandr "zoneR" Bogatiryev (16) - 36 months (0%)
Germán "hellpa" Morath (2) - 10 months (0%)
Egor "fuRy^" Morin (1) - 7.5 months (25%)
Aset "Solaar" Sembiyev (2) - 10 months (0%)
Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen (2) - 8 months (20%)
Ricardo "dead" Sinigaglia (5) - 6.5 months (35%)
Nicholas "guerri" Nogueira (2) - 4 months (60%)
Faruk "pita" Pita (2) - 10 months (0%)
Erik "AKIMOV" Akimov (1) - 7.5 months (25%)
Ivan "F_1N" Kochugov (6) - 8.75 months (12.50%)
Bruno "ellllll" Ono (3) - 10 months (0%)
Pedro "peu" Lopes (2) - 5 months (0%)
Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström (1) - 5.5 months (45%)
Mariusz "Loord" Cybulski (2) - 6 months (40%)
Anton "ToH1o" Georgiev (2) - 10 months (0%)
Andrey "Andi" Prokhorov (1) - 10 months (0%)
Milan "pepik" Gellebra (1) - 10 months (0%)
Morgan "B1GGY" Madour (3) - 7.5 months (25%)
Christian "chrille" Lindberg (2) - 10 months (0%)
Sergey "starix" Ischuk (1) - 10 months (0%)
Alexander "ave" Holdt (1) - 6 months (40%)
Jasmeet "RoSeY" Gill (1) - 10 months (0%)
Sergey "lmbt" Bezhanov (3) - 7.5 months (25%)
Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen (1) - 3.75 months (25%)
Mikołaj "miNirox" Michałków (1) - 3.75 months (25%)
Nikolay "pNshr" Paunin (1) - 3.75 months (25%)
Casper "ruggah" Due (1) - 3.75 months (25%)
For the duration of the bans, the coaches will not be able to be physically present around the team starting 15 minutes before a match is scheduled to begin up until it ends, and will not be able to communicate, actively or passively, with the players for the same period of time. They will not be allowed inside the game server during official matches and will not take part in the map veto or communicate with the team during this process.
The bans will have effect across all ESIC members, including ESL, DreamHack, BLAST and WePlay. Moreover, the esports watchdog called on non-member tournament organisers to honour these suspensions "for the purpose of protecting the CS:GO esports scene internationally."
Any coach who wishes to contest their ban can contact Kevin Carpenter, the chairman of ESIC's Independent Disciplinary Panel, at email@example.com.
The investigation into the historical abuse of the coaching bug was formally launched by ESIC on September 4. The association hired Michal Slowinski, a veteran Counter-Strike referee and tournament admin, and Steve Dudenhoeffer, a software development manager at ESEA, to analyse tens of thousands of demos after they had played a key role in uncovering the scandal. Slowinski was tipped off to the existence of the bug only in June, though players and coaches suggested to him that it had been in the game since at least 2016. The bug, which was fixed by Valve in its August 26 update, allowed a coach have a locked view of any part of a map for an entire game or until they either reconnected to the server or switched the camera to one of their players.
ESIC thanked Rivalry.gg, DreamHack and WePlay, who have all made contributions to help cover the costs of the investigation. It also acknowledged other ESIC members and industry stakeholders who separately funded investigative activities prior to the start of its formal probe.