CIS teams call on Valve to launch Akuma investigation
The participating teams in EPIC League CIS have also asked the game developer to enforce strict protocols in future tournaments.
In an open letter to Valve, 14 out of the 16 teams that took part in EPIC League CIS plus Unique have asked Valve to launch a full investigation into the cheating allegations against Akuma. These teams "suspect" that Akuma, who placed third in the Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament after most notably beating Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro in convincing fashion in the playoffs, "received live data from third parties on external devices" during their matches to see opponents' positions on the map and gain a competitive advantage.
The letter outlines several key concerns regarding how the region's first RMR tournament of 2021, organized by the Russian Esports Federation (RESF) and Epic Esports Events, was run, and suggests solutions to prevent similar problems from happening in future events in the Major circuit.
According to the statement, the tournament organizers did not record the teams' communications, which is a measure that the organizations believe to be "the norm for every big tournament" and one that other TOs have used to help investigate potential cases of wrongdoing in the past. Additionally, the competition was played without a third-party anti-cheat and, in some matches, the GOTV was allegedly left with no delay or a delay of up to 30 seconds.
The teams who signed the letter asked organizers of future RMR and other online events to establish a number of preventive measures, including a fixed delay of live server data going out to third parties and the GOTV, as well as mandatory TeamSpeak recordings, additional cameras capturing players' entire station, and an additional anti-cheat on top of VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat).
Akuma's upset run at the EPIC League CIS has been a hot topic in the community for the past week. Several clips of the Ukrainian team's actions in matches have surfaced, in particular questioning the players' eye movements and suggesting that they were receiving additional information on another device.
RESF posted a statement on Sunday in response to the cheating allegations, revealing that they had run their own investigation into the matter. The organizers said the analysis of the information they had gathered "did not reveal any evidence of compromising the administration of the tournament and the work of GOTV" and that their "review of Akuma's players' hardware and software revealed no signs of foul play." The federation also stated that they have notified Valve and ESIC of the situation and that they are ready to "conduct a retrial with their participation if necessary."
The full letter, signed by all EPIC League CIS participants with the exception of Akuma and ex-Marlian, can be found below:
Open letter to VALVE’s CS:GO division
Dear CS:GO team,
We want to share our feedback on the CIS RMR held by the RESF. Our mutual concern is a suspicion of dishonest play from the AKUMA team / players. Based on the information we have, we suspect that the AKUMA team/players received live data from third parties on external devices in order to gain the unfair advantage of seeing opponents’ positions on the map at all times.
In its statement, RESF claimed that no evidence was found that Akuma violated the integrity of the tournament. However, we doubt that the investigation followed all of the appropriate protocols because of the following limitations:
- TeamSpeak communications were never recorded. Teams repeatedly questioned this decision and asked that all communications be recorded, but their requests were dismissed. The RESF explained this with the fact that recording TeamSpeak communications was not in Valve’s requirements. However, we believe that recording TeamSpeak communications has long been the norm for every big tournament, not to mention the qualifiers for a Major;
- There was no third-party anti-cheat, which has long been an industry standard and an additional tool for any leading TO;
- In some of the matches there was no GOTV delay, while in others there was a delay of up to 30 seconds.
Considering this, we ask that you involve ESIC or any other competent authority not only to conduct a full investigation into AKUMA, but also to lay out protocols to ensure that this scenario will not occur again in the future. If the legitimacy of AKUMA’s actions is confirmed, this will also help their players by minimizing any pressure that they might face from the community in future tournaments.
Given the specifics of the described situation, we are eager to provide all the information our teams have in order to find the truth behind what happened.
For the upcoming tournaments, regardless of the outcome of the investigation, we believe that following requirements should be considered:
- Data providers can only sell data with a 20-30 second delay;
- TeamSpeak communications must be recorded by all teams for every game;
- GOTV must have a 120-second delay;
- In addition to a camera in front of the player, there should be an extra camera capturing the whole setup of the player;
- Additional anti-cheat on top of VAC;
- Other (TBD)
We recognize that data providers are an essential part of the CS:GO ecosystem, and this should continue to be the case. However, we need to make sure that this data is safe from those willing to abuse the system and gain unfair competitive advantage.
We look forward to your feedback.
Several team members and community figures have come out to express their opinions about the clips in question and the allegations as a whole. Natus Vincere coach Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy, whose team lost to Akuma in the opening round of the upper bracket, appeared on HLTV Confirmed on Tuesday and shared his conviction that Dmitriy "SENSEi" Shvorak's team cheated in the tournament.
"Personally, I think that they were cheating 100%," the 34-year-old said on the talk show. "Especially Sergiz [...], the way he pushes positions… We knew that he would push some positions, and in the end he pushed them, but every time it was when we weren't watching him. And the same was against VP. Then all the clips with the radar and so on started, and of course you can't watch the radar when you're in clutch situations. It's impossible, right? You must be focused on your crosshair."
The coach went on to say that it's unlikely anything will be proven because of the lack of TeamSpeak recordings. "I think it's not possible that it will be proven because there is no evidence. The TO didn't record any TeamSpeaks — we asked about this after the first match, actually, and they still didn't do this. So there is no evidence."