Earlier on Monday the Esports Integrity Commission released their initial findings regarding their lengthy investigation into abuse of the recently uncovered “coach bug”. When the bug occurred, coaches in the server would recieve a free-cam view of a particular spot on the map, and would be able to gain information otherwise unavailible to them. It has since been found that the bug is replicable on-demand, and has existed in the game since 2016 at the latest.
Previously, after findings from veteran judge Michal “michau” Slowinski, temporary ESL bans had been issued to three coaches, namely HUNDEN, dead and zoneR. Since then, michau and Steve Dudenhoeffer were recruited by the ESIC to conduct an official investigation, reviewing thousands of demos provided by HLTV.org, dating back all the way to mid-2015.
Now, almost two months later, 20% of the 99,650 have been reviewed and their initial findings have been published. In total 37 bans have been issued ranging in length from 3.75 months up to 36 months. On top of this, HUNDEN‘s ban has been reduced from 12 months to 8, dead and zoneR have had their bans extended to 6.5 and 36 months respectively.
Among the 37 coaches banned, some interesting names stand out:
- Twista, coach of ENCE, banned for 15.75 months over 2 cases while coaching iGame.com.
- Rejin, coach of mousesports, banned for 19.8 months over 7 cases while coaching Tricked Esports.
- Apoka, coach of BOOM, banned for 5.4 months over 6 cases while coaching Luminosity, INTZ and BOOM.
- guerri, coach of FURIA, banned for 4 months over 2 cases while coaching FURIA.
- pita, ex-coach of NiP, banned for 10 months over 2 cases while coaching NiP.
- F_1N, coach of Gambit Youngsters, banned for 8.75 months over 6 cases while coaching Gambit Youngsters.
- RobbaN, ex-coach of FaZe Clan, banned for 5.5 months over 1 case while coaching FaZe Clan.
- Loord, coach of Wisla Krakow, banned for 6 months over 2 cases while coaching Team Kinguin and Aristocracy.
- B1GGY, coach of Heretics, banned for 7.5 months over 3 cases while coaching Heretics.
- starix, coach of Hard Legion, banned for 10 months over 1 case while coaching Natus Vincere.
- lmbt, coach of forZe, banned for 7.5 months over 4 cases while coaching HellRaisers and forZe.
- miNIr0x, coach of AGO, banned for 3.75 months over 1 case while coaching AGO.
- ruggah, coach of OG, banned for 3.75 months over 1 case while coaching Dignitas.
Among these, some are more notable than others. guerri published an in-depth video regarding his allegations, explaining that he was not watching the game on his PC and wasn’t relaying any information to his team. The video included recordings of the team’s communications during the game and showed the footage from the demo. ESIC have not considered this proof to be sufficient to justify him being let off and have punished him with a 4 month ban from coaching.
Other notable cases are Loord and starix, two coaches who prior to today’s announcement have been very vocal in the discussion of who deserves a ban or not. Loord, coach of Wisla Krakow, was one of the coaches that first put the bug into the public eye earlier this year.
starix, who has both played on and coached NaVi, was also very vocal about the guilty coaches being named publicly and punished by Valve. He also replaced zoneR as the head coach for Hard Legion, and has recently accused Valve of knowingly covering up a potential cheating scandal involving flusha. Despite this, he himself has recieved a ban for cheating while coaching NaVi in a game versus Tricked Esports in 2017.
Several coaches, such as RobbaN, Apoka, lmbt, and ruggah have questioned their bans and are looking to have them appealed. More news regarding these cases is expected soon.
As the investigation is only 20% done, the coming months are expected to uncover yet more cases of bug abuse and yet more bans handed out. Michal and Steve do however want to press that the remaining 80% to be reviewed should not unveil an overwhelming amount of cases, as these first 20% were the ones flagged as the most suspicious. A second result should be published by the end of October.