June 15, 2021
Background of the Appeal:
On 4 September 2020, the Esports Integrity Commission (hereinafter referred as to “ESIC”) announced an investigation into an abuse of a bug (hereinafter referred as to the “Spectator Bug”) in the CS:GO’s spectator mode. ESIC together with Mr. Michal Slowinski’s help investigated about the wrongful use of said exploit.
Along with the Statement “Esports Integrity Commission Opens Inquiry into Historical Spectator Bug Exploitation’ a Confession Period was granted. This period was foreseen for any offending parties that wanted to come forward ahead of the investigation with an admission of wrongdoing. Said Period opened as of the date of the Statement’s release, 4th of September 2020, and closed on the 13th of September 2020 at 23:00 CET.
Later on, the 28th of September 2020, ESIC issued another Statement “Esports Integrity Commission Findings (Part One of Two) from investigation into CS:GO Spectator Bug Exploitation” announcing the sanction against 37 individuals in relation to the exploitation of the Spectator Bug. Mr. Anton Georgiev was one of the coaches sanctioned, with a ban period of 10 months in which he:
- 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 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; and
- Must not be part of the official map veto process nor be in communication with the team during this process.
The sanction was imposed on account of the following. During the match disputed on date 20 September 2017, along the IEM Oakland 2017 Europe Open Qualifier Tournament, playing Ex-Outlaws team v. hASSelsNOk team (hereinafter referred as to the “First Match”), the Appellant being the team coach at the time, the Spectator Bug was triggered on Mr. Georgiev’s PC during the first round (pistol round). Although hASSelsNOk won the first round, Ex-Outlaws were the winners of the whole match.
Then again, on 13 December 2017 during the CSGO.NET Cup 1 Tournament -played in the E-Frag Bootcamp Studio in Belgrade, in the match played by Windigo Gaming v. Tricked (hereinafter referred as to the “Second Match”), once again the Appellant being the team coach at the time, the Spectator Bug was triggered in all rounds (thirty rounds) of the first game. The winning team was Windigo Gaming.
Grounds of Appeal:
The grounds of Appeal, in essence, may be summarized as follows:
- The Appellant listed one of the three grounds set in article B.1 of the Appeal Procedure Code as the foundation to his Appeal.
- That was article B.l(iii), imposition a sanction that was unduly excessive as to be unreasonable.
- The Appellant stated that the sanction was very severe and should be substantially reviewed. His main argument was that at the time the offence took place, he was unaware of the Spectator Bug’s existence. Therefore, he could not abuse nor exploit the bug, since he didn’t even know about its existence.
- Moreover, he provided evidence for the purpose of proving that he did not act knowingly nor he helped the team to gain an advantage to win the match, since this happened, without him knowing about it.
The Appeals Panel of the Esports Integrity Commission rules that:
- In the circumstances of this case, and under article C.10 of the Appeal Procedure Code “The Appeal Panel shall then have the power to: Exercise any power of sanction which the Integrity Commissioner could have exercised, whether the effect is to increase or decrease any penalty, award, order or sanction originally imposed.”, the Panel herein annuls the first-instance decision issued by ESIC and declares fully upheld the the appeal.
- As a result thereof, the Appellant is immediately free to resume his coaching duties within the esports sector.
- With regards to the appeal deposit, no relief shall be ordered as it was subject to a financial assistance agreement between the Parties.
- As for the costs, and pursuant to article D.1 of the Appeal Procedure Code, the Panel has full discretion to order what proportion of their costs, which are comprised of the fees (and any legitimate expenses) of each Panel member, each party shall be liable for.
- Considering the specific circumstances of this case, the Panel orders that the costs of this appeal procedure shall be borne entirely by ESIC.
A full decision for this appeal will be posted on the upcoming “Appeals Registry” which is due to be released shortly on the ESIC website.