forZe challenge lmbt's ban for spectator bug use
The Russian organisation provided an explanation for three of the four cases involving the 33-year-old coach.
forZe said on Monday that they are "extremely surprised" with the 7.5-month ban imposed by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) on assistant coach Sergey "lmbt" Bezhanov for using the spectator bug. In a statement, the CIS organisation leapt to the defense of the Ukrainian coach, who has four single-round cases against him, three of which involving the BLAST Pro Series Moscow 2019 runners-up.
According to ESIC, lmbt used the bug for the first time in September 2015 while he was coaching HellRaisers in a FACEIT League closed qualifier match against Natus Vincere. He used it again almost five years later, in August 2020, in a FunSpark ULTI qualifying match against Nordavind and on two maps of an Eden Arena Malta Vibes Cup 9 series against MIBR.
"During the episodes with the bug in the match against the MIBR team, lmbt was working in the Maincast analytics studio," forZe state. "It should be noted that Sergey joined the analytics studio even before the start of our match, having previously logged into the server as a coach. We have the video recordings from the analyst desk from the same time when the bug happened. In them, we can see that he is watching forZe’s match on his phone. And also we have the official confirmation from Malta Vibes."
forZe added that lmbt came across the bug in the match against Nordavind and was only able get rid of it more than a minute into the CT pistol round. They also posted a series of screenshots from other matches played by the team on the same map, Dust2, showing the same set-up during the pistol round. This, forZe believe, proves that "the episode did not affect the outcome of the round and the match", and that lmbt did not pass information to his players.
"Sergei "lmbt" Bezhanov remains the team’s coach," forZe stressed. "The organization and the players support the coach as much as possible and hope that this situation will end fairly, because he was accused without a preliminary investigation and a request for an explanation. Moreover, they intend to give a ban for 7 months, without taking into account any circumstances. In this regard, we will defend our position and, if necessary, will contact the appropriate authorities for further investigation."
In a Twitlonger post, lmbt criticised ESIC for conducting the investigation without contacting the involved parties and noted that he will not accept his punishment. "I'm ready to receive a fair penalty, but the key word here is 'fair'", he wrote.