RESF on RMR issues: "We don't believe that this situation will seriously affect the CIS scene or its tournaments"
The federation has responded to the scathing criticism targeted at the recent RMR tournament.
One week has passed since EPIC League CIS came to an end, and the event remains a hot topic in the Counter-Strike scene. The Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament, organized by the Russian Esports Federation (RESF) and Epic Esports Events, was plagued by production issues, irregularities and cheating accusations levied against Akuma, who managed to finish in third place after upsetting Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro in the double-elimination playoffs. This has led to suggestions in some quarters that the tournament should be replayed or simply removed from the Major qualifying cycle.
On Thursday, a group of 15 CIS teams reignited the discussion about EPIC League CIS by issuing an open letter asking Valve to look into the cheating allegations, stating that they suspected that Akuma "received live data from third parties on external devices" throughout the tournament. The teams also called on the game developer to outline strict protocols to preserve the competitive integrity of future RMR tournaments.
Contacted by HLTV.org, RESF admitted that the tournament had its fair share of issues and that "there is definitely room for improvement for the future". However, it pointed out that no official complaints about the matches were ever lodged, and lamented that rather than message the tournament organiser directly, teams opted to vent their frustration on social media.
When asked about the impact of these issues, the Russian federation played down suggestions that the image of the CIS region has been tarnished. "We think it is safe to say that everyone in the CIS community wants to see it thrive, grow and prosper," RESF said.
What is the RESF’s opinion about the open letter to Valve released by the CIS teams?
We support the idea of expanding the set of requirements for a TO for hosting the qualifiers for a Major.
As for the request for a special investigation into team Akuma’s performance. We’ve stated before that we’ve already hosted our own investigation into two matches that Akuma played, remotely checking their hardware, browsers and surroundings. Our conclusion was that there was not sufficient evidence to take any disciplinary action.
We won’t comment on the CIS teams' decision to release an open letter, but we do believe it is important to highlight that we have not received any official complaint about the results of the matches during EPIC League CIS RMR. In our opinion, the lack of official complaints means that the teams believe that the matches were fair.
Can you clarify the relationship between RESF and Epic Esports Events and the duties performed by each company while hosting the RMR tournament?
Epic Esports Events handled the English broadcast, communications with foreign partners and media support of the RMR tournament.
The Russian Esports Federation was fully in charge of the sports side of the events (scheduling and administration of the matches), communication with the teams related to the paperwork and was ready to resolve any issues, if those were presented via the official communication channels.
The 15 teams that signed the letter suspect that Akuma received “live data from third parties” during their matches. This topic was not addressed in your recent statement. Have you looked into these allegations? What steps have you taken to investigate this matter?
We read the open letter, as well as a large amount of information posted by the teams, their players and fans on social media. There were so many different theories posted in the last few days, starting with the idea that Akuma used illegal software, had access to GOTV, received help from corrupt admins, or had information about the situation of the match via third parties. We’d like to point out that these theories and allegations were based exclusively on the interpretation of the actions that Akuma players made during their matches.
We’ve conducted our own investigation into the matter and were unable to confirm any of these allegations. If someone has actual legit information about the matter, we kindly ask them to reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we’ve said before, we’re ready to conduct another investigation into the matter in case new information becomes available.
Can you comment on the allegations that there was no third-party anti-cheat and that GOTV in some cases had a 30-second delay and in others no delay at all?
Unfortunately, the third-party anti-cheat software market for CS:GO is fairly limited. Some of the available solutions, such as FACEIT, are working exclusively within their own platform and are not available elsewhere. At the same time, such servers have a list of serious limitations for access by the tournament operators. A recent situation at ESEA also shows that there’s not a single anti-cheat software that is 100% secure.
As for the lack of a 30-second delay on GOTV, we used two different GOTVs in the event. The internal GOTV with zero delay was used for the broadcast and was password-protected. The broadcast crew and the tournament administrators were the only ones who had access to this GOTV.
There was a case when the tournament administrator accidentally posted the IP and password of this GOTV (instead of the game server one), which allowed a team manager to access it. This tournament administrator received disciplinary action, the password was changed, and additional security measures were implemented. We’d like to point out that GOTV and server passwords never matched, since GOTV password is set by the admin, while server passwords are generated automatically.
The second GOTV had a 90-second delay, which was later increased to 120 seconds. The GOTV counter displays the total number of spectators on all GOTVs. None of the teams reached out to us regarding the GOTV server that had zero delay.
Can you explain why the 5th-6th place decider wasn’t scheduled initially and why the grand final was initially supposed to be a BO3 and not a BO5? Why was this information not communicated in a timely manner with teams and the community?
Indeed, Valve pointed out the necessity of having a 5th-place decider match. Due to a communication error, this information was not passed on to the person responsible for the tournament schedule at the time of planning the event.
Nevertheless, we were able to agree on the time and the date of the match between Natus Vincere and Entropiq. Unfortunately, seven minutes before the match was supposed to start, both teams refused to play it. As a result, we had to reach out to Valve to get additional instructions for such an odd case. The full timeline of the event is available here.
As for the best-of-five, it was part of the overall proposal sent to Valve. The rulebook had a veto format suited for a best-of-five, but there was no explicit mention there that the final would be a best-of-five match (to be fair, there was no mention of it being a best-of-three final either). We did not receive a single request from any of the involved parties about the format of the final before the actual final. We will make sure we communicate this better in the future.
In the RESF’s eyes, how would you describe this RMR tournament? What do you think that went wrong and that could have been done differently?
We acknowledge a set of challenges that have made the community and participants upset. There is definitely room for improvement in the future. However, we believe that direct communication between the teams and the TO would have been far more efficient and effective compared to indirect communication via social media posts.
Do you think that all this negative press will have an impact on how the Counter-Strike scene will perceive CIS tournaments?
We don’t believe that this situation will seriously affect the CIS scene or its tournaments. There are lots of great teams and talented players, and more of those will come in future. We believe that there’s definitely room for improvement and these improvements will definitely be made in the future. We think it is safe to say that everyone in the CIS community wants to see it thrive, grow and prosper.