Deemed to give certain teams greater advantage over others, Valve has introduced new rules which limit coach communication during Valve-sponsored esports matches.
Although still permitted to converse with players during pre-game warm ups, 30-second timeouts, and during halftime, the new rules—which have been endorsed by the ESL—state coaches are now banned from interacting with their teams when actual rounds are underway.
Posted by HLTV, the email—signed by Valve’s Ido Magal—reads as follows:
"With unrestricted communication with their players, coaches can currently function as a sixth player, and not solely as a source of guidance or training. Activities such as keeping track of the economy, calling plays, and general situational awareness are important components of CS gameplay. If a person is performing these actions, we consider them a player.
“Since the goal of our events is to identify the best five-player CS teams that exhibit the best combination of all CS skills, the current participation of coaches in the game is not compatible with that goal. To address this problem, future Valve sponsored events will enforce the following coaching rules:
“During a match, the coach may only communicate with the players during warm up, half-time, or during one of four 30 second timeouts that the coach or player can call. Obviously, third party events can use whatever rules they want but if you want to align your events with ours then we recommend using this coaching rule."
According to HLTV, the first major event to implement the new rules will be ESL One New York which kicks off towards the end of September. In light of the ruleset change, there’s already murmurs among top players of inter-squad discussions on how to proceed, strike action and even union formations.