The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has revealed that, as a result of successful appeals from Nicholas “guerri” Nogueira and Alessandro “Apoka” Marcucci, it has decided to make a blanket change to how ban reductions were calculated when they banned 37 coaches in September 2020 for their involvement in the use of the infamous coaching bug.
When the first ban wave came at that time, so-called “demerit points” were used to determine the length of bans based on the number of matches and rounds in which coaches were found to have experienced the bug. Concessions were then applied to those who had come forward to confess to their involvement or helped with the investigation, ranging from a 12.5% to 85% reduction of their bans.
This subsequently led Valve to issue Major bans to coaches who were involved in the use of the bug. The CS:GO developers did not take into account ESIC’s ban reductions, however, banning coaches solely based on the demerit points ESIC had applied.
guerri will remain banned until after the second Major of 2023
Apoka received eight demerit points — the maximum number possible — and got banned permanently from Majors, while his ESIC sanction was reduced by 85% from 36 to 5.4 months. guerri was banned from five Majors while receiving a 60% reduction to his ban from ESIC member events, from 10 to 4 months.
Nearly two years after they were banned, the two Brazilian coaches put forward an appeal to the decision in July, which was accepted by ESIC and based on which it decided to make changes to the calculation of demerit points. According to the governing body, this was due to the Commissioner, Ian Smith, taking the view that Valve’s sanctions had “distorted the intended effect of ESIC sanctions such that they were no longer proportionate nor within the scope of ESIC’s intended outcome.”
Instead of the original calculation which saw concessions applied after ban lengths were determined based on demerit points, the new calculation of concessions reduces demerit points directly. This means that, had this system been used and applied by Valve or if it were to be amended now after the fact, some coaches would have been banned from fewer Majors than they are now.
ESIC claims that no coach has missed more Majors than they would under the new formula, but this seems to be untrue. There are four names that would have been unbanned after just one Major — PGL Major Stockholm — according to our calculations, but that had their bans run for at least one more.
For example, Apoka and guerri should only have 2 demerit points following the adjustment, which means their Major bans would have expired after PGL Major Stockholm — the first Major to take place following the ban wave — instead of never in the former’s case and after five Majors at the end of 2023 in the latter’s. Similarly, Alexander “ave” Holdt and Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström should have their demerit points reduced from 3 to 2, which would have seen them unbanned after Stockholm instead of after the following Major in Antwerp.
ESIC has conveyed the results to Valve in the hope that the publisher would adjust their sanctions in line with the recalculation, but Valve’s initial response indicates that they will not make that adjustment
Several other coaches who received concessions would also have their Major ban lengths changed if Valve decided to follow the new calculations, including six more whose Major bans are still in effect: Allan “Rejin” Petersen, Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen, Mariusz “Loord” Cybulski, Alexey “NooK” Kozlovskiy, Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia, and Erik “AKIMOV” Akimov.
Valve has however opted against following suit and adjusting the bans, leaving the standing lengths from their announcement in early 2021 unchanged, according to ESIC. The watchdog has asked the developers to reconsider, but a change of heart seems unlikely, given Valve’s steadfast approach to their banning policy in general.
“ESIC has conveyed the results to Valve in the hope that the publisher would adjust their sanctions in line with the recalculation, but Valve’s initial response indicates that they will not make that adjustment. While this is a matter for Valve, ESIC has asked Valve to reconsider their stance,” the ESIC release says.
The press release came at a time when ESIC have still yet to post their full findings on the additional uses of other variants of the spectator bug. The watchdog first revealed that nearly 100 more coaches had been impacted by at least one of three variants of the bug, but only went on to suspend three due to their involvement in the then-imminent PGL Major Antwerp: Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu, Sergey “hally” Shavaev, and Rafael “zakk” Fernandes. peacemaker and zakk‘s suspensions have since been lifted.