ESIC announce transparency initiative; provide update into spectator bug inquiry*
The esports watchdog group has created a central hub to provide updates into ongoing declassified public investigations.
The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) announced on Saturday the launch of a "transparency initiative" that aims to provide "a reliable and proportionate level of insight" into activities undertaken by ESIC regarding ongoing investigations.
The transparency initiative is planned to roll out in four phases, with the first being a "Matters Register" that will provide updates into any declassified public investigations — explained as matters which ESIC or a third party, either one tied to the investigation or a journalist, has made public.
The Matters Register currently contains three open investigations — one relating to potential betting fraud by Project X CEO Oleksandr Shyshko in matches played by his team and Akuma, a second regarding the almost year-long investigation into match-fixing in North American and Australian ESEA MDL, and finally, the ongoing investigation into the historical use of the spectator bug by coaches.
The investigations regarding Oleksandr Shyshko and the spectator bug are both marked as in their "finalisation" stage, while the inquiry into match-fixing in ESEA MDL remains active. ESIC said that they expect to complete the investigation regarding Mr. Shyshko and make a final recommendation in due course, while an update regarding the North American match-fixing investigation is scheduled for Monday, August 23 at 10:00 .
ESIC's historical inquiry into the spectator bug, meanwhile, is under review due to "the outcomes from appeals" following their first report, as well as the difficulty in determining a "fair, proportionate, and consistent sanctioning approach" given the short instances of the bug being triggered in the second batch of cases.
The sanctions imposed by Valve following the first report are also cited as an issue ESIC has to now take into account, with the esports watchdog stating that they are "currently working with Valve to try and come to a conclusion that is fair to all parties before providing its next sanction update."
ESIC is currently also investigating claims that former Heroic coach HUNDEN shared sensitive information relating to the team's strategy book with a competitor ahead of IEM Cologne, a case that is not listed in the public investigations register and that the guardian group has not commented on in Saturday's release.
Ensuing phases of the transparency initiative will see a "Public Sanctions Registry" be created, which will record all sanctions handed down by ESIC including the duration, type of sanction, link to press release, and status, as well as a "Public Appeals Registry", which will reflect any appeals received by ESIC's Independent Appeals Panel and their status. Both the sanctions and public appeals registries are expected to be implemented by October 2021.
In November, ESIC plan to roll out the final phase of their transparency initiative, a "Public Appeals Library" which will, by consent of the parties involved, provide access to the written decisions of the appeals panel.
The esports watchdog group cited "current (but resolving) resourcing constraints" as a reason for the lack of convenient and timely updates to the public regarding their investigations, which they say range from 15-30 cases on average at any one time. They do state, however, that they are currently in the process of expanding their resourcing capabilities, with further announcements regarding their resourcing to come in due course.
Additionally, ESIC said that due to the highly confidential and sensitive nature of their investigations, as well as the chance of damaging the reputation of potentially innocent parties, they have to exercise a high degree of caution when making statements about any ongoing matters. The transparency initiative is the start of their effort to find a middle ground in that endeavor, given the growing public interest in their activities.