Apoka on coaching ban: "I never used anything to gain an advantage"
The Brazilian coach claims that he was unaware of the bug until recent developments.
BOOM coach Alessandro "Apoka" Marcucci, who was on Monday banned for 5.4-months by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) for using the spectator bug in two full matches and four one-round instances, denied any wrongdoing but accepted the ban handed to him by the esports watchdog group.
ESIC's findings note Apoka used the spectator bug for 28 rounds in a 2017 match against Cloud9 in ECS Season 4 North America and 29 rounds in a 2018 match against the same team in ECS Season 5, both while representing Luminosity. Additionally, four one-round instances during Apoka's time with INTZ and BOOM are noted on the list. That represents a tier-one aggravated offense with a 36-month sentence, but Apoka's ban period was reduced by 85% due to his confession and assistance in the investigation
The Brazilian, who found out that the bug happened to him by using a tool called "FACEIT Analyser", focused on the two full-match instances in his explanation, adding that the punishment was based on those games, with the other ones added as "supporting evidence".
After checking the two demos in question, Apoka concluded that the bug occurred during matches played from Luminosity's gaming house. Apoka claims he wasn't on his PC during those games and that his players weren't able to see the screen and gain unfair information.
In his defense, Apoka says that he usually isn't on his computer during matches, which he backs by the fact that his mouse doesn't move and his POV is bugged from warmup until the match ends, without him disconnecting from the server. He admits that he doesn't have the voice communication recordings from these matches as several years have passed since then.
"I'm deeply saddened by this," Apoka writes, "but not because of my conscience - because I’m 100% sure that I never used anything to gain an advantage. I've been a professional coach for more than 18 years; I've organized tournaments in Brazil and I've been active in the CS scene for over 20 years. I believe that at least a few people who read this know my nature, both in-game and in life.
"Unfortunately, this punishment is because of a bug that the majority of the coaches didn’t know existed, and not because they wished to gain advantage because of it."
Finalizing his statement, Apoka said that he accepts the punishment and praised the work of ESIC, Michal Slowinski, and Steve Dudenhoeffer, but noted that he believes "the punishment method should be based on advantage used".
A total of 37 coaches were issued bans by ESIC on Monday, including names such as Casper "ruggah" Due, Sergey "starix" Ischuk, and Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström. The investigation is still underway and is expected to come to a conclusion with a final public announcement at the end of October. Meanwhile, those who wish to contest their ban will be allowed to launch an appeal through the Independent Disciplinary Panel.