HUNDEN to serve two-year ban following ESIC investigation
The Danish coach received a ban from the esports watchdog group after he was found in breach of their Code of Conduct.
The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has announced that former Heroic coach Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen will serve a two-year ban from all of its member events as a result of breaching ESIC's Code of Conduct, caused by the sharing of confidential material from Heroic's strategy folder ahead of IEM Cologne with an opposing team.
The sanction concludes a nearly two-month-long investigation from the watchdog group, who found HUNDEN's public admission of sharing "anti-strat material of opponents", in conjunction with their own evidence, enough to sanction the coach under article 2.4.5 of their Code of Conduct:
"The facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct that brings Esports, the Game, Event, ESIC or a Member into disrepute."
In outlining their investigations, ESIC stated that the team with whom the confidential material had been shared was one that HUNDEN was in the process of negotiating a move to and one that was simultaneously competing in IEM Cologne alongside Heroic. Although never mentioned by name in the ESIC report, that team is believed to be Astralis, who had reportedly had the 30-year-old as their prime candidate to replace Danny "zonic" Sørensen at the head of the team next year.
Although ESIC found that the information in question had not been accessed by the recipient after a forensic IT report was conducted by an independent firm, the threats created to "the integrity of an ESIC member event," "the reputation of an ESIC member," and the "reputation and competitive integrity of esports" by the sharing of the documents was sufficient enough to warrant a breach of their Code of Conduct.
In an addendum, ESIC added that allegations made by HUNDEN in regards to ESIC's conduct of the investigation, specifically in his claim that the group had chosen to "not hear [him] out" and that he was threatened with a longer ban in case of an appeal, are false.
ESIC stated that HUNDEN was offered the opportunity to respond to their decision on multiple occasions, but "failed to provide [them] with any reply of substance relevant to the charge made against him." They also said that his public statement regarding the sharing of anti-strat material amounted to an admission of his conduct and made the charge a self-evident matter.
The sanction represents the second ban handed down to HUNDEN by ESIC, who previously issued a 12-month ban to the Danish coach after he was found to have exploited the infamous spectator bug on two occasions in matches against Astralis and Spirit. That ban was later reduced to eight months after HUNDEN cooperated with ESIC's investigation, stating at the time that he had acted on his own without the knowledge of his teammates.
However, in an interview with TV2.dk on Thursday, the coach has changed his story, now saying that some of his teammates at the time had been aware of his abuse of the bug. Jacob "Pimp" Winneche, who had the chance to review documents submitted to TV2.dk that seem to support HUNDEN's claims, has stated that he believes it is "highly probable that [HUNDEN] is telling the truth."
HLTV.org knows that any evidence regarding the allegations made by HUNDEN have not been provided to ESIC, and that the watchdog group was not made aware of the accusations prior to the publication of the TV2.dk interview.
With the two-year ban already in effect as of August 25, 2021 and running through until August 24, 2023, HUNDEN will be ineligible to compete in any ESIC member events, including ESL, DreamHack, WePlay, BLAST, Relog, and those run by a number of other organisers.
The resulting suspension has HUNDEN preparing to depart Counter-Strike entirely, as he told TV2.dk that "right now, there is nothing called Counter-Strike for me after this" and that he would be quitting the esports title.