Ian T Smith, the Integrity Commissioner for ESIC, made the startling claim on the HLTV Confirmed podcast claiming that a "helluva lot" of people who shouldn't be on the stream such as players and coaches, were in fact watching the games.
The ESIC claims to have uncovered more foul play in the CS:GO scene. (Picture: ESIC)
Since the COVID-19 pandemic made LAN tournaments impossible due to travel restrictions, most major tournament organizers moved to online formats, and while there was in-built delays on the "live" footage, teams were still gleaming what information they could, and in the ESIC's eyes they were unequivocal - this is cheating.
"It's something that's really emerged in this COVID period. We got some reports, perfectly actually substantiated reports of stream sniping," explained Smith.
"We've got factually substantiated reports on stream sniping"@bristollawyer says that we'll soon hear on the stream sniping abuse that was happening during online leagues.— HLTV Confirmed (@HLTVconfirmed) September 28, 2020
We're still live:https://t.co/RaYXOfbXTVpic.twitter.com/warpiVKb9H
"It's a pretty big deal[..] I know what information you can gain from a general stream given the delay between real-time action and the stream is limited, but there is some useful information there."
For ESIC the bigger issue is not from what information you can obtain from the stream, but that there is an attempt to cheat in the first place.
"It's not about how much information, how badly your cheating. It's against the rules to be on the stream but unfortunately, we found that a helluva lot of people were on the stream. Players and coaches. So we have got something to say about that."
What exactly the ESIC has to say about that isn't yet clear, with Smith revealing that a statement was due to be made in time. Any punishments however would likely not be as severe as those handed out to the coaches found to be using the spectator bug, which saw it's most egregious user, Slaava "Twista" Räsänen's banned for 15 months and 3 weeks.
Some accused coaches are not going down without a fight though, with many claiming that they used the spectator bug inadvertently; with FaZe Clan coming out in defence their former Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström.
"We stand behind Robert. Upholding the integrity of competition means everything to us & we're glad an issue he brought up 3 years ago is finally being addressed, but his ban is entirely unwarranted given the facts," stated FaZe in a tweet.
We stand behind Robert. Upholding the integrity of competition means everything to us & we're glad an issue he brought up 3 years ago is finally being addressed, but his ban is entirely unwarranted given the facts. We’re disappointed in the process that led to this conclusion. https://t.co/HlXDoztfoE— #FaZeUp (@FaZeUpdate) September 28, 2020
"We’re disappointed in the process that led to this conclusion."