The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has reached an agreement with Valve that could result in more coaches being banned for the use of the infamous spectator bug.
ESIC to restart CS:GO spectator bug investigations
That's according to Dust2.us, who reports that the agreement led to the recent unbanning of Nicholas "guerri" Nogueira, Alessandro "Apoka" Marcucci, and Anton "ToH1o" Georgiev from Valve events after they were issued with bans due to being associated with the spectator bug.
The spectator bug allows team coaches to see parts of the game's map that they should not otherwise be able to see, thereby allowing them to gather information about the enemy team. Around 40 coaches to date have been banned for using this bug.
ESIC decided to pause issuing mass bans for the use of the spectator bug back in August 2021, due to Valve issuing bans to coaches that were not in line with ESIC recommendations. Most notably, Valve ignored ESIC's concessions matrix, which allows for the duration of individual bans to be reduced if the coach in question cooperates with the investigation, or proves that they did not or could not benefit from the spectator bug appearing in the game.
This gap between ESIC and Valve resulted in several coaches facing bans that were out of line with ESIC recommendations. guerri, for instance, faced a four-month ban from ESIC, because he admitted guilt and cooperated with their investigation. Valve, however, issued a five-Major ban, which would have seen guerri banned until 2024.
However, after years of disagreement between ESIC and Valve as to how to handle these bans, it seems that the two organisations have reached a deal as to how to continue. In a statement issued to Dust.us, ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith revealed that they had been in communication with Valve for several months in order to resolve their differences on this matter.
"The outcome is that, where a successful (in whole or in part) appeal is based on proving that the coach did not or could not abuse the bug in some or all the rounds that contributed to his ESIC demerit points, Valve will consider commuting the relevant element of that coach’s Major ban," said Smith.
"To be clear, Valve do not consider ESIC’s discounts given for early admission of guilt or help with our investigation as a valid reason to reduce the Major ban. Valve have so far, based on our appeal findings, reduced or removed the Major bans of three coaches."
With these disagreements seemingly ironed out, ESIC is now free to continue its investigations into the spectator bug - meaning that a new wave of coach bans could be on the horizon. Smith himself noted that their disagreements with Valve resulted in the Commission pausing its mass-bans, stating that: "We wanted this issue resolved and agreed before publishing the outstanding coach bug cases and we have now reached an understanding with Valve so can proceed with the remaining cases."
ESIC and Valve still don't seem to be entirely on the same page regarding the concessions matrix. However, Valve are at least willing to lift or reduce specific bans in collaboration with ESIC. As such, more coaches could now be facing ESIC bans due to historic use of the spectator bug - though some may see their sentences being reduced due to good behaviour.
It seems we're bound for a dramatic CS:GO season, both in and outside of the game. While we can't predict the outcome of ESIC's investigations, you can always place a bet on the in-game excitement. You can see the full CS:GO match schedule right here - and make sure to sign up now to claim your free 100% bonus!