January 23, 2021

Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) Statement Regarding Alleged Stream Sniping/Ghosting by Vitality in BLAST Premier


On Thursday 21st January,  it was brought to ESIC’s attention that, during their match against Team Liquid, a television in the common lounge area of the Vitality office could be seen with the broadcast stream of the match displayed .

ESIC has received and assessed VOD footage and player camera footage and found that this breach occurred in the aforementioned match as well as having occurred in map 2 of Team Vitality’s game against Complexity.  ESIC’s assessment of the VOD footage and player camera footage does not suggest that the players were given information derived from the stream or that they gained any advantage in their matches as a result of the Code violation by the organisation. Team Vitality’s management has accepted responsibility for the breach.

Accordingly, in the interest of proportionality and in line with ESIC’s zero tolerance policy on stream-sniping, ESIC has today issued Team Vitality with a fine of $10,000.00 for their breach of the ESIC Code. ESIC’s decision to fine the organisation rather than disqualify, suspend or ban the team is predicated on ESIC’s review of the evidence which indicates that taking an action in the alternative would have been a disproportionate and unfair outcome for the negligence of the organisation’s staff, who, whilst negligent, had no intentional malice in their actions.


On 11 November 2020, ESIC notified its members that stream sniping, a violation of the ESIC code, would be treated with zero tolerance and made a widely circulated and publicised statement about the matter. Consequently, the allegations against Vitality were taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by both ESIC and our member, BLAST Premier.

ESIC reviewed the VOD, player cams and other video evidence from both the Complexity and Team Liquid matches and analysed in-team comms finding no evidence that the incident gave rise to or represented any effort by the players and coach to gain any advantage or cheat during the matches. Instead, it was concluded that the availability of the stream for viewing from the playing room was due to the negligent error of unrelated Vitality staff, who, without thinking, simply wanted to view the match where they were working.

Consequently, ESIC takes the view that It would be unfair to punish the team and players directly for their employer’s negligence and, instead, decided to issue a sanction against Team Vitality directly by way of a fine of $10,000.00.

ESIC reinforces the zero tolerance of any form of stream-sniping and will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute any such breaches of the ESIC code. ESIC reminds all organisations to remain vigilant while matches are being played in home environments to ensure that negligent breaches are stopped.


ESIC Commissioner, Ian Smith, said:

“Whilst I am, naturally, disappointed that this has happened so soon after our announcement on this Issue, I accept on the evidence that there was no malice Intended and no bad actors actually trying to corrupt competitive Integrity. Consequently, I am pleased that Vitality have accepted the sanction with grace and I hope this serves to remind all organsations to be particularly vigilant while matches are being played In their home environments.”


Vitality CEO, Nicolas Maurer, said:

“A television was spotted displaying the livestream of our game in the background of our team while they were playing. This television is placed in a lounge and used by visitors to watch games.

Even though this is not coming from a malicious intention, we agree that this placement is controversial. This was a big mistake on our side and we accept the fine. As soon as the issue was pointed out to us, we gave officials all the tools to look further into the incident. We agree that competitive integrity cannot be taken lightly and apologize for this towards all the CS:GO fans. We will make sure to be extremely careful in the future on this matter.”


BLAST Premier Commissioner, Andrew Haworth, said:

When the admins spotted the stream Vitality were immediately told to turn off the screen in the other room, which they did without hesitation. We informed ESIC and supported them in their investigation as they reviewed footage and made a decision. We take our steer from them to be impartial and uphold competitive integrity.