The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has lifted its ban on CS:GO coach Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen early, with the coach now free to attend member events once again.
ESIC lifts HUNDEN's two-year ban
HUNDEN's return to ESIC member events is the result of a face-to-face meeting on November 29, in which the parties discussed "matters arising from that participation ban."
While ESIC noted in a statement that the parties were "in disagreement on certain matters," they have both nonetheless "recognised the importance of integrity to the thriving Esports industry."
Following the discussion, HUNDEN has agreed to undertake "relevant training" while ESIC have committed to review its policies and procedures to make sure that they are "consistent with good industry practice and fit for purpose."
"In light of the constructive engagement between the parties, Mr Petersen will return to participation in ESIC member events with immediate effect," said ESIC, adding that the parties would make "no further comment on this matter."
ESIC provided no further details as to why exactly the ban had been lifted so early.
The coach has hit with a two-year ban in August 2021, after ESIC discovered that HUNDEN had leaked sensitive information to a rival team before IEM Cologne, without the knowledge of Heroic - his team at the time.
While an investigation found that the recipient of this information did not access it, ESIC found that HUNDEN had threatened "the integrity of an ESIC member event" and "the reputation of an ESIC member."
It wasn't the first time HUNDEN found himself in hot water either. He had previously served an eight-month suspension after ESIC found that he had exploited the infamous coaching bug - for which approximately 40 coaches have been banned for using to date, a practice that some believe is still continuing.
The coaching bug allowed team coaches to see parts of the game map that they should not have been able to see, and were able to gather information about the enemy team. While Valve announced that it fixed the bug in August 2020, it was later recreated by a coach in May 2021.
HUNDEN is now expected to return to coaching immediately, with many predicting that he will sign with Astralis - who are currently on the lookout for a new head coach after Martin ‘trace’ Heldt left the team in October. HUNDEN reportedly had a "working relationship" with Astralis during his ban, and the team has previously stated that they would jump at the chance to work with the coach once his ban expired.
"Should we have the need, we would not have any second thoughts about offering him a position as an analyst or the like," said Astralis, according to a report from Dextero. "Nor should any other esports organization. He should not be treated any different than any other coach or player who has received a temporary ban. Not during the ban and not after the ban has expired."
Time will tell if HUNDEN will indeed sign with Astralis - but wherever he ends up, he's bound to make a return to the CS:GO scene in the near future. And we'll be keeping you right on top of the action right here at Luckbox - be sure to sign up for your free account now to claim your 100% bonus!