AGO stripped of ESL Polish Championship title following stream-sniping violation
The Polish organisation says that it will take "all available legal steps" to appeal against the ruling.
AGO have been stripped of their ESL Polish Championship Spring 2021 title following an investigation into an alleged case of stream-sniping, ESL Poland announced on Tuesday. HONORIS, the losing finalists, have been awarded the trophy, the first prize of almost $6,600 and the spot in the ESL National Championships Global Playoff Spring, an international IEM circuit qualifier.
ESL Poland had announced on May 18 that it was investigating a potential stream-sniping breach after a video emerged of AGO's players celebrating their victory in the final. In the video, recorded by an AGO staff member inside the room where three of the team's members were playing, a computer can be seen running the official match stream "within sight of at least two AGO representatives, one of whom was in direct contact with the team," according to the tournament organiser.
"AGO responded to all of our inquiries and provided all available resources, and presented a plausible scenario indicating that the representatives made this mistake without malicious intent," ESL Poland added.
"In view of this, we refrained from even harsher measures, such as a two-year disqualification from ESL tournaments."
ESL Poland said that both its parent, ESL, and the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) were involved in the investigation. The esports watchdog made headlines in January after it imposed a $10,000 fine on the Vitality organisation for a similar incident involving the French team during their BLAST Premier Global Final matches against Liquid and Complexity.
In a statement, AGO admitted to being "surprised" by the announcement and revealed that it will take "all available legal steps, not only to appeal the decision but also to protect the good name of our organization."
"The x-kom AGO representative had the stream of the final match in sight but was not in direct contact with the team," the organisation said. "This unintentional incident was not intended to and was not the reason for the winning team gaining any advantage and did not affect the final result, which is clearly confirmed by the audio-visual materials we provided to ESL Poland as part of our full cooperation.
"After we receive a written decision from ESL Poland (the official organizer of the tournament, whose rules are signed by the governing bodies of AGO Esports), containing at least a concrete indication of the allegedly violated point of the rules and plausible evidence, we will begin the appeal procedure to ESIC. Until then, our organization will not provide any additional comments.
"We consider the current position of ESL Poland as fundamentally inconsistent with the spirit of the sport and contrary to the DNA of x-kom AGO, which we have been building on the principle of fair play from the very beginning."
HONORIS will be joined by the winners of seven other national and regional tournaments in the ENC Global Playoff Spring 2021, scheduled for May 27-30. The winner of this single-elimination tournament will pick between a spot in the IEM Cologne Play-In stage or in IEM Summer, with the runner-up receiving the remaining slot.