The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), has announced that former Heroic coach Nicolai “Hunden” Petersen will serve a two-year ban for breaching the ESIC Code of Conduct. This comes as a result of him sharing Heroic’s confidential strategy material with an opposing team ahead of IEM Cologne 2021.
ESIC has sanctioned Hunden with a 2-year ban for breaching the Code of Conduct and sharing confidential strategy material with an opposing team. This concludes a nearly 2 month-long investigation into the matter where the watchdog body has found enough evidence in conjunction with veteran Danish IGL turned coach 's public admission of sharing "anti-strat material of opponents" to ban him 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."
This is the second sanction against Hunden by ESIC. The esports watchdog found the coach guilty of abusing the coaching bug scandal in 2020. He served a 12-month ban that was later reduced to 8 months as an amnesty for admission of guilt.
ESIC has also released the findings of their investigation, where they found that Hunden was in the process of negotiating a move from Heroic to an opposing team. He shared confidential material that included anti-strat material of the opposite team and material that could potentially harm his employer (Heroic).
ESIC's Findings in Hunden Investigation:
- Mr. Petersen was in the process of negotiating a career move from Heroic to the opposing team;
- Mr. Petersen did, in fact (and by his own admission), send information to the opposing team that. This included information such as anti-strategy materials relating to Heroic’s opponents as well as other sensitive and potentially useful (to an opponent) information;
- The recipient had not, as a matter of forensic evidence available to date, accessed the information;
- Accordingly, IEM Cologne was not considered compromised from a competitive integrity standpoint.
- However, in sharing anti-strategy materials, amongst other potentially sensitive and useful data and information, with the opposing team during:
- Mr. Petersen’s employment with Heroic;
- Mr. Petersen’s transition or negotiation of career movement to that opposing team;
- Heroic’s upcoming attendance of IEM Cologne (in which it may have faced opponents which were the subject of the anti-strategy materials); and
- Mr. Petersen’s knowledge of the opposing team’s attendance of the same event;
Following these findings, Hunden cannot participate in any ESIC member events. This includes major tournaments organizers like ESL, Dreamhack, and BLAST among others. The ban will last till 24 August 2023 and will prevent Hunden from participating in any events run by members. ESIC also requests that all non-ESIC members honor this ban.
ESIC Comments on Hunden's Public Misinterpretations
Hunden recently spoke to the Danish media outlet tv2.dk and ESIC's investigation and possible sanctions against him. Following this tv2.dk published an article with details that ESIC considers to be significantly erroneous information, propagated by Hunden.
ESIC Commissioner, Ian Smith, also commented on Hunden's claim that sharing anti-strat material is a common practice in CS:GO. He said that if this is true then this practice must be stopped immediately as this affects the game's competitive integrity.
At a broader level, it is alleged in various public statements by Mr Petersen and others that swapping of information, strategies, data and tactics between coaches in CS:GO is common practice. I don’t know if this is true, but, if it is, it needs to end now, or at the very least in the build-up to events and tournaments. Competitive integrity is key to esports’ growth and future appeal and all participants ought to have this front of mind at all times.
Hunden now has multiple incidents of misconduct and has made claims his players knew of the bug abuse. This is after earlier stating that his teammates had no knowledge of his actions. These actions make it unlikely that he will continue in the Counter-Strike scene.
Heroic meanwhile, will continue to use Performance Coach Troels Robl as they prepare for EPL Playoffs. The team stormed through to the playoffs after making it through the group stage without losing a single series. The team is also expected to continue its legal proceedings against Hunden over breach of contract.