ESIC Issues Ban to 37 CSGO Coaches for Abusing Observer Bug
The Esports Integrity Coalition, ESIC, has arrived at a verdict in its initial investigation into CSGO coaches that may have been violating competitive integrity rules by abusing a bug in the observer client. The ESIC have found that 37 CSGO coaches have violated the rules in some form or another, resulting in a number of bans of varying lengths from five to 36 months.
Some big names were included in the coaching bans including OG’s Casper “ruggah” Due, BOOM’s Alessandro “Apoka” Marcucci and ex-FaZe coach Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström, among many others.
“We understand that these revelations have been tough for many people within the CSGO community, but we believe it is in the long-term best interests of the game and all of esports for integrity breaches to be dealt with head-on,” the Esports Integrity Commission said in a statement. “We know that most coaches, players, tournament organizers, publishers and developers, fans, sponsors and broadcasters want CSGO and esports to be clean and fair competition between players and teams doing their very best to win. We see our job as being to ensure that that happens and that corrupt and bad actors are rehabilitated or removed.”
ESIC claims that the report is only covering about 20% of the potentially affected demos and they still have about 75,000 demos left to go through. Thanks to programmatic review, they estimate that the rest of these demos will be done being analyzed by the end of October, where ESIC hopes to close their investigation a full seven months ahead of schedule. Importantly, only 0.1% of the total demos available for review (99,650) have, as at the date of this report, returned a positive indication of Spectator Bug abuse according to ESIC. This suggests that while a great number of coaches may have abused the bug at one point, it doesn’t seem to be a systemic problem that’s been ongoing.
However, it’s still possible that Valve makes dramatic changes to coaching as a result of this many coaches being implicated in the events.
Who Did ESIC Ban and What Can the Coaches Do?
The full list of coaches banned includes coaches from various teams across tiers one, two, and three of competitive CSGO by the ESIC, meaning this was not a bug that was only used by small-time teams. Here’s the full list of coaches affected and their ban lengths, which varied based on the number of offenses, whether or not they admitted to wrongdoing, and if they assisted with the investigation in any way. Here’s how that broke down:
- Confession prior to the investigation announcement – 40% ban period reduction
- Confession accepted in full – 25% ban period reduction
- Confession accepted partially – 12.5% ban period reduction
- Assistance in the investigation – 20% ban period reduction
Our list also includes how much their sentences have been reduced by:
Slaava “Twista” Räsänen (2 cases) – 15.75 months (12.50% concessions)
Peter “casle” Sørensen (2) – 10 months (0%)
Rodrigo “dinamo” Haro (2) – 10 months (0%)
Arno “ArnoZ1K4” Junior (1) – 10 months (0%)
Allan “Rejin” Petersen (7) – 19.8 months (45%)
Eliomar “glou” Hernandez (2) – 10 months (0%)
Arthur “prd” Resende (5) – 10 months (0%)
Alexey “NooK” Kozlovskiy (1) – 7.5 months (25%)
Henrique “rikz” Waku (1) – 10 months (0%)
Alessandro “Apoka” Marcucci (6) – 5.4 months (85%)
Aleksandr “zoneR” Bogatiryev (16) – 36 months (0%)
Germán “hellpa” Morath (2) – 10 months (0%)
Egor “fuRy^” Morin (1) – 7.5 months (25%)
Aset “Solaar” Sembiyev (2) – 10 months (0%)
Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen (2) – 8 months (20%)
Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia (5) – 6.5 months (35%)
Nicholas “guerri” Nogueira (2) – 4 months (60%)
Faruk “pita” Pita (2) – 10 months (0%)
Erik “AKIMOV” Akimov (1) – 7.5 months (25%)
Ivan “F_1N” Kochugov (6) – 8.75 months (12.50%)
Bruno “ellllll” Ono (3) – 10 months (0%)
Pedro “peu” Lopes (2) – 5 months (0%)
Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström (1) – 5.5 months (45%)
Mariusz “Loord” Cybulski (2) – 6 months (40%)
Anton “ToH1o” Georgiev (2) – 10 months (0%)
Andrey “Andi” Prokhorov (1) – 10 months (0%)
Milan “pepik” Gellebra (1) – 10 months (0%)
Morgan “B1GGY” Madour (3) – 7.5 months (25%)
Christian “chrille” Lindberg (2) – 10 months (0%)
Sergey “starix” Ischuk (1) – 10 months (0%)
Alexander “ave” Holdt (1) – 6 months (40%)
Jasmeet “RoSeY” Gill (1) – 10 months (0%)
Sergey “lmbt” Bezhanov (3) – 7.5 months (25%)
Henrik “FeTiSh” Christensen (1) – 3.75 months (25%)
Nikołaj “miNirox” Michałków (1) – 3.75 months (25%)
Nikolay “pNshr” Paunin (1) – 3.75 months (25%)
Casper “ruggah” Due (1) – 3.75 months (25%)
For the duration of each of the mentioned coaches bans, they are required to do the following as penance – but can still participate in out of match coaching and mentoring of players. This would relegate them more to a role of analyst than in-game coach, in the meantime.
- must not actively or passively communicate with the team starting 15 minutes prior to the official match start up until the end of the match
- must not be physically present around the team starting 15 minutes prior to the official match start up until the end of the match
- must not be on the game server during official matches
- must not be on the official match channel on the Discord server
- must not be part of the official map veto process nor be in communication with the team during this process
ESIC has requested that “all non-ESIC member tournament organizers honor the bans for the purpose of protecting the CSGO esports scene internationally,” and that they “welcome any dialogue with these non-ESIC member tournament organizers relating to bolstering and harmonizing competitive integrity for CSGO.”
How Did ESIC Arrive at Its Verdict?
According to ESIC, this is how they arrived at their verdict of which coaches were abusing the bug without manual review, which would have taken at first estimate up to eight months. Of course, this was far too long for there to be questions about integrity, so a software-based solution was developed.
In order to do that, ESIC had to first obtain the match replay data, which they did from HLTV and ESEA servers. Then they did the following with that:
- Parsing of data through particular parameters in order to detect bug exploitation;
- Flagging of key suspect demos for manual review;
- Manual review and analysis of key suspect demos and removal of false positives;
- Collation and categorization of positive instances of abuse;
- Various models of sanctioning matrix and concession matrix to act as standardized matrix to be used for determinations;
- Consultation with various industry stakeholders regarding reasonableness and proportionality of various models of sanctioning matrices and concession matrices;
- Identification of best suited sanctioning and concessions matrix and application to data set; and finally
- Determination of net bans on a per offender basis in accordance with the finalized sanctioning and concessions matrix, review and sign off by the commissioner.
The software did the following:
- Identify trends in abuse of the Spectator Bug by analysing data points relevant to ‘frequency’ and ‘duration’ of abuse;
- Create consistent sanction tiers based on data within the sample being assessed;
- Apply appropriate and proportionate sanctions consistently across the entire data set based on the model;
- Apply appropriate and proportionate concessions for defined circumstances (e.g. confessions or assistance with investigation);
- Arrive at a net sanction which is consistent, data driven, and objectively ascertainable by reference to the model for each offending party.
The rest of ESIC’s report on the situation is due by the end of October, using the above methodology. It’s entirely possible that more coaches could be implicated and banned by the ESIC by the end of this, so this is far from over, and could strike a serious blow to CSGO coaching in the future if Valve finds that coaching is no longer worth the hassle and represents a serious question about competitive integrity in the sport.
And knowing Valve and how stubborn they can be about bans and rules within the esports scene of CSGO, that’s a change that we’re unlikely to come back from.