The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) released the appeal result for Sergey ‘LMBT’ Bezhanov, one of 37 professional coaches in Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) who were banned from coaching following a recent cheating scandal.
Bug Exploit Scandal
Bezhanov and the others were suspected of exploiting a “spectator bug” in CS:GO which allows players to move freely around game maps during competitive gameplay, as well as feeding location information to their teams about their opponents. The 33-year-old Ukranian who was the coach of the professional team Forze was implicated by ESIC, September, 28, and banned from coaching for 7.5 months.
In his appeal to the integrity body for eSports competitions, Sergey Bezhanov “has supplied compelling documentary, video and 3rd party corroborative evidence”, to prove that in two of the cases he was not present at his computer at the time the spectator bug was activated, and in the other two cases he disconnected and sought admin assistance, in no way trying to take advantage by exploiting the bug capabilities.
“Consequently, the original findings and sanction are hereby rescinded and he is free to coach in ESIC member events with immediate effect.”
Appeal result announcement, ESIC
ESIC further thanked Sergey Bezhanov and the team he coaches, Forze, for showing the patience and appreciating the complexity involved in the matter which put a strain on the ESIC’s limited time and resources.
ESIC Issued Bans, Determined to Prevent Integrity
The investigation launched in September by the ESIC resulted in dozens of bans issued to coaches, not letting them communicate with their teams for the period of 15 minutes prior to official match startups until the end of the matches. Imposed bans are valid for a period ranging from 4 months to 3 years.
Some coaches were banned from being around their teams, or on the game server during official matches, as well as on the official match channel on the Discord server, and being part of the official map veto process, or being in communication with their teams during the veto process.
The cheating scandal related to the exploitation of the spectator bug required a full scope investigation by the esports integrity commission which expects it to complete by the end of October. Upon completion, ESIC will release a report on its findings.