ESIC sanctions more coaches ahead of the PGL Antwerp CS: GO Major cover image

ESIC sanctions more coaches ahead of the PGL Antwerp CS: GO Major

Team Spirit and 9Z founders react with strong statements on Twitter.

Just days before the PGL Antwerp Major, the Esports Integrity Commission released some findings of an investigation into a visual abuse bug used by CS: GO coaches. ESIC announced they will be issuing sanctions against nearly 100 CS: GO coaches. This list includes three provisional suspensions against coaches that will participate at the PGL Antwerp Major which kicks off on May 9.

In response to ESIC’s sanctions, Team Spirit released a statement. The statement starts with mentions of how there was only one instance in Haly’s career that he encountered the bug. 

"During the entire time of this round, he didn't see a single opponent; during almost the whole round, the players of his team were in the same place where his camera froze, and they received all the information on their own. Almost the entire round, his camera was directed at his players, and this was directly related to the fact that he wanted to watch his team and just do his job. This is the only moment in his career that the ESIC found a coaching bug “abuse” and it happened right after the warmup, when its occurrence is most likely (coaching bug appears after the death of a player who is being watched by the coach)."

Team Spirit also attached a vod of teh round when Hally was sanctioned for using the bug. Hally disconnected the next round and reconnected, claims Team Spirit.

The second part of the statement goes on to question ESIC’s standing and even goes on to say ‘Team Spirit nor hally know who ESIC even are.’

From the procedural perspective, neither Team Spirit nor hally know who the ESIC even are. We don't know who conducted this investigation and who made the decision on the punishment, who is this commissioner to whom ESIC refers in their letter. No one has introduced us to their code which they constantly refer to. No tournament operator uses their code as an official document at any of their tournaments.

It’s interesting to note that Team Spirit have signed documents with ESIC allowing them to investigate Akuma previously. Their contract with ESL also acknowledges ESIC’s Code and Conduct.

A major point of contention from Team Spirit’s perspective is the timing of the release of these investigations. Despite the video being uploaded on October 26, 2020, according to Team Spirit, ESIC only made their findings public days before the Major

Which coaches did ESIC ban?

The names of the three implicated coaches was first revealed by OverDrive on Twitter. 

The three coaches that will face ESIC sanctions are Hally, Peacemaker and Zakk from Team Spirit, Imerial and 9Z respectively.

Team Spirit’s reaction was followed by a reaction by 9Z’s founder on social media. He also says flights were canceled as a punishment and he will not be able to travel to Antwerp for the Major along with the team.

What are ESIC’s sanctions against coach bug abuse?

ESIC said coaches who used the free-roam bug will be subject to penalties determined by the ‘Cheating Offenses’ section of the code of conduct. The penalties may carry up to 24 months of sanction and is up to the discretion of the ESIC commissioner.

The Coaching bug scandal has haunted the CS: GO esports scene for several years now. The visual bug essentially allowed some coaches to gain an uninterrupted vision of a particular areas. There are also different variations of the bug, including one where coaches could freely roam around the map and spot enemy players and their positions.

The response to ESIC’s announcement has mostly been criticism around the timing of this release. In some cases, ESIC has completed the investigation several months ago, but only chose to release the findings now, three days before the PGL Antwerp CS: GO Major.

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