Players get banned for cheating every day, but you know who usually doesn’t get smited from the competitive heavens? Coaches.
Three professional CS:GO coaches have been handed punishments overnight, following a competitive ruling from tournament organisers ESL. The coaches for teams MIBR, Heroic and Hard Legion have been banned for 6, 12 and 24 months respectively, after all three were found to have deliberately misused a serious bug during live competitive play.
What was the bug, you might ask? Well, it’s basically the CS:GO equivalent of a spectator cam. The bug would allow a team’s coach to become a spectator anywhere on the map with a free camera. If that still requires explanation, here’s a short video showing just how big of an advantage it could net.
For those wondering how this coaching bug works, here is a short clip of me being bugged on mirage, A spot. You can pick any location on the map you want. And yes, you can rotate the camera angle as much as you want. pic.twitter.com/C0CdDV9zXi— Michal Slowinski (@michau9_) August 31, 2020
“The coach would then be able to stay in that position, getting a free camera/observer position on e.g. the opposing team’s spawn area (or other areas of the map that would be hidden to the team otherwise), and could advise their team to react based on that knowledge,” ESL said in their ruling.
Naturally, the coaches’ behaviour has hurt their teams substantially. All three teams have been retroactively disqualified from their respective tournaments, and forced to forfeit their prize money — around $US11,000 ($14,884) in total — and their ESL Pro Tour points. The last bit can especially bite, as those points enable qualification towards ESL One Cologne and IEM Katowice 2021. They’re two of the biggest events in esports and CSGO, events that can be especially lucrative for teams and individual players not just through prize money but sticker sales and future fan growth.
The individual coaches are also out of a job for quite a while. And their reputation certainly won’t be helped by the fact that they weren’t the only ones to find the bug — just the only ones to abuse it during a live match, according to ESL:
As part of this announcement, we consider it also important to note that multiple coaches other than those mentioned in this post have encountered the bug. They did not abuse it in any way.
The tournament organisers double checked their rulings with Valve, who helped confirm abuse of the bug through replay analysis. Other CS:GO tournaments have also begun scrubbing their demos to uncover similar abuses, although none have been found so far.
Heroic, whose coach was banned for a year, said they “are yet to review the evidence” and that Valve “has chosen not to act” on the information. “All questions will be answered at a later point,” the team said.
As for MIBR, the highest profile of the three teams involved, the organisation has suspended their coach “effective immediately while we investigate the claims”.
The bans were arranged in conjunction with the Esports Integrity Commission, which has worked with organisers to regulate accusations of cheating and doping in esports. Bans arranged by ESIC include a five-year ban against a player for using hacks at a LAN event, which included this wonderful moment of the player being caught out. ESIC has also worked with Victoria Police on uncovering match fixing in Australian esports, which has led to multiple arrests and investigations.
This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.