lmbt's ban lifted by ESIC
The 33-year-old will be allowed in the server during official matches again after his evidence was deemed credible.
forZe coach Sergey "lmbt" Bezhanov has announced that his 7.5-month ban has been lifted by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC). The Ukrainian had been one of the 37 coaches who had been sanctioned as part of the esports watchdog group's investigation into the use of the spectator bug.
lmbt had allegedly used the bug in four different games, the first of which while he was coaching HellRaisers in a 2015 FACEIT League closed qualifier match against Natus Vincere. The other three cases were from August 2020, one from a FunSpark ULTI qualifying match against Nordavind and two from an Eden Arena Malta Vibes Cup 9 series against MIBR.
Contacted by HLTV.org, ESIC confirmed that the ban was lifted upon verification of the evidence provided by lmbt. ESIC determined that the Ukrainian coach was doing on-air work for Maincast while the MIBR series was in progress — based on video evidence and corroborating statements from third parties — and that he disconnected in good time in the other two matches and reported the bug to the tournament admins. ESIC added that it is currently reviewing the evidence provided by other coaches and will issue a statement on this matter soon.
"I’m pretty happy and obviously satisfied with the outcome and ESIC's decision," lmbt told HLTV.org. "It was very hard for me and forZe when the news [of the ban] came out, but we knew our position and that our evidence was very strong, so we were pretty confident.
"This situation, with the bans and the appeals, has set a precedent, and everyone has to learn from this. I'm thankful to ESIC for conducting a correct investigation and coming to a good decision. I can't wait to get back on our TeamSpeak during matches."
lmbt has received the green light to coach forZe in the remainder of IEM New York, a Regional Major Ranking (RMR) in the CIS region. The Russian team have a 1-1 record in Group A and will face K23 in their next match before taking on the group's heavy-hitters, Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro.