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Valve bans 37 CS:GO coaches caught cheating with a spectator bug

(Image credit: Valve)
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In August of 2020, pro esports league ESL suspended coaches from the CS:GO teams Hard Legion, Heroic, and MIBR, following an Esports Integrity Commission investigation that found they had taken advantage of a bug that enabled them to spectate from anywhere on the map without the opposing team knowing. Further investigation found that the cheating was actually far more widespread than that: A report published in September 2020 revealed that 37 coaches had taken advantage of the bug to some extent.

Those coaches were also sanctioned by ESIC, whose members include ESL, DreamHack, and other leagues and tournaments, through a standardized "sanctions and concessions matrix" that applied demerit points based on the frequency and duration of the spectator bug exploit. Four tiers of sanctions were applied based on demerit point totals, ranging from five months to three years, adjusted for "concession" modifiers like confessing your crimes and aiding the investigation.

Now Valve has imposed penalties of its own, based on ESIC's system of demerit points, that will see coaches who have been caught exploiting the bug made ineligible for upcoming CS:GO Majors—in some cases, permanently. 

  • 2 demerits - 1 Major
  • 3 demerits - 2 Majors
  • 4 demerits - 3 Majors
  • 5 demerits - 5 Majors
  • 6+ demerits - permanent ban

Given the extent to which the spectator bug was exploited, and the length of time it went on without anyone noticing, Valve has also changed its rules to mandate that only players will be allowed in rooms and on servers during online matches. "Neither coaches nor any other team staff will be allowed in the room, on the server, or to otherwise communicate with the team during an online match," it said.

Last week, ESIC issued suspensions against 35 CS:GO players for terms ranging from one to five years for betting on matches.