The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) recently declassified its ruling on the investigation into the alleged complicity of Heroic Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) players with the infamous spectator bug exploit, which was used by former Heroic coach, Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen; ending 18 gruelling months of controversy for the Heroic players.
The spectator bug was identified late last year and occurred randomly at spawn. Coaches that experienced the bug gained access to critical information on the map, which ultimately conferred an unfair advantage to their team. HUNDEN was among more than 30 coaches that were implicated and sanctioned for using the exploit during professional play.
Following HUNDEN's ban from competitive esports in late August this year, ESIC initiated an inquiry into the complicity of Heroic's players on 6th September.
ESIC sanctions ex-Heroic player niko over HUNDEN bug abuse case
The declassified ESIC report, publicized on 18th October at 9:00 CET, read that there was "no case to answer for" regarding players: Rene “TeSeS” Madsen, Casper “cadiaN” Moller, Johannes “b0RUP” Borup or Martin “stavn” Lund, citing that:
"Upon investigating the conduct of these individuals, ESIC was unable to find anywhere near enough evidence to reasonably conclude that these four players were guilty of any offence under the ESIC Integrity Program."
ESIC declassifies report detailing investigation and outcomes resulting from Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen's allegations of team's complicity in spectator bug abuse.— ESIC (@ESIC_Official) October 18, 2021
ESIC made it clear that the aforementioned players were "deemed innocent of the conduct which are (sic) the subject of [HUNDEN's] allegations."
According to the report, former Heroic Rifler, niko, issued an admission of guilt, where he confessed his "complicity in the cheating exploits" of HUNDEN and was found guilty of breaching the ESIC Code of Conduct Articles 2.4.4 and 2.4.5 (which are level 4 offences).
Why was HEROIC's niko sanctioned by ESIC?
Specifically, per the official ESIC report,niko was sanctioned under the following reasons:
- Cheating or attempting to cheat to win a Game or Match.
- Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct that brings Esport, the Game, Event, ESIC or a Member into disrepute.
How did ESIC punish HEROIC's niko?
It was also noted in the report that, following his breach of the ESIC code of conduct, niko accepted the following sanctions under a plea bargain agreement with ESIC, which included:
- A severe public reprimand for his behaviour.
- A warning as to future conduct with severe consequences for any
future breach of the ESIC Integrity Program.
- Mandatory attendance at two one on one education sessions with the ESIC Commissioner of a minimum 30 mins duration each.
- A minimum 15-minute check-in with the Commissioner every month for a minimum of six months to ensure he has understood and is complying with the ESIC Integrity Program and to offer him
support for any issues he might be having in this respect.
What were the concluding remarks by ESIC?
ESIC concluded their report, with the Commissioner saying: "I expected a flood of 'evidence' of other teams’ players being complicit in their coaches cheating with the coach bug, but this has not happened. I believe I have explained why I think this is: that the players did not need to know, but I also accept that there were players that, like niko, did know and should have come forward, but didn’t."
The Commissioner also made it clear that their investigation into the allegations was in the "best interests of esports," ending nearly 18 months of investigation into the matter. "If people lose faith in the product, it is the players that will suffer most and I hope all players accept that we are all in this together and that ESIC is here to protect them," they concluded.
The full ESIC report can be read or downloaded in its entirety here.
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Featured image courtesy of ESIC / HLTV.