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Sources: More coaching bans to come as ESIC completes ‘delayed’ investigation

Sources have informed Dexerto that the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) will issue further bans for the abuse of in-game coaching bugs as two investigations are completed.

Both investigations have been ongoing for some time, while ESIC tried to investigate all cases of abuse, which number in the hundreds. In the first of these two investigations, sanctions could be imposed on up to 52 people, although possible penalties are still being discussed internally.

Fresh impetus for the imposition of the penalties came after the cooperating parties became increasingly angered at the prospect of coaches being banned from attending the forthcoming PGL Major in Antwerp in May this year. Several parties outside of ESIC, including members of the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA), have expressed a desire to resolve the matter prior to the event to ensure the highest level of tournament integrity.

CSGO ESIC Investigation Stream Sniping
ESIC/Valve/Unsplash: Alexander Jawfox

The investigation into the historical use of the bug was initiated in September 2020

This isn’t the first time ESIC has been criticized for the slowness of its investigations. Her “Open investigation register” contains three that have yet to be completed with no status updates as of August 2021. During this period, rumors of personnel problems and leadership changes circulated, leading many people to believe that the likelihood of these investigations being completed was slim. While it is undoubtedly true to say that ESIC may have underestimated the magnitude of the issues they sought to address, the complexity of these investigations, particularly as they date back more than five years in some cases, cannot be downplayed.

According to sources familiar with the investigation, one reason for the delay was that there were several bugs in the game that allowed coaches to get an unfair angle on cards. Although they achieved the same result, they worked in slightly different ways. When the automated process for finding demos was implemented where it occurred, it was only coded to detect the primary flaw that led to the first lockdown wave. As it was refined, it found other examples and presented more names to ESIC.

The errors differ in how much information can be acquired. One is a third-person view that follows the players and allows a coach to move their mouse to potentially clear angles or see information that would be outside of the player’s periphery. Below is a clip recorded by Dexerto from an official game where a trainer experienced the third person view bug.

Another much rarer glitch allows the trainer to move around the map completely freely, as if in NoClip mode.

Dexerto announced on February 9 that Soham ‘valens’ Chowdhury encountered both the static and free-road versions of the bug while coaching Cloud9. Valens told Dexerto he didn’t know how the bugs were triggered, stressing that no information was ever shared with his players.

Another problem in the investigation was the assessment of the different errors and how they were used in each individual case. Some demo footage shows clear and obvious usage with sweeping movements aimed at gathering information. Other examples show no movement or only occur for one round, which could well mean that the error occurred without the coach’s knowledge.

Without voice communication, determining the extent of the abuse proved difficult, and given a number of appeals against previous coaching bans and other investigations, it was important to take this into account in potential penalties. The standard set for the previous coaching error was that failure to report an incident, if it happened, would result in action being taken against the coach in question, with abuse of any kind leading to much more severe penalties.

This factor is given special consideration since many of the cases examined involve either single instances of bug occurrences or multiple instances of single rounds, often at the beginning of games. It was worth noting that an instance of just a single round represented the entirety of the offenses committed by OG trainer Casper ‘ruggah’ Due, and this was enough to trigger a nearly four-month ban from all competitions and a ban from the PGL Stockholm Major , for which OG failed to qualify.

Adela Sznajder/ESL via ESPAT

ruggah was banned in 2020 for a single round instance

The downside of the long spell was that several coaches named on the list of potential suspensions were allowed to compete, while their peers guilty of similar offenses were immediately punished for their transgressions. Many individuals who have been banned as a result of ESIC’s investigations, or organizations whose employees have been banned, may feel offended that it has taken them so long to cross the line.

No final date was set for the initial announcement, but our source understood the investigation was in the “final stages” and that official communications for the parties involved were being prepared. The major in Antwerp is due to start on May 9th, so it’s reasonable to expect it anytime before.

ESIC has been asked to comment.

Luís Mira contributed to this story.

https://www.dexerto.com/csgo/sources-more-coaching-bans-to-come-as-esic-finalise-delayed-investigation-1793599/ Sources: More coaching bans to come as ESIC completes ‘delayed’ investigation

Emma Bowman

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