CIS teams release open letter, ask Valve to launch investigation into Akuma’s recent cheating allegations

The letter was signed by almost every team that participated in the last CIS RMR tournament, including Na'Vi and VP.

Image via Valve

Fourteen out of the 16 teams that participated in EPIC League CIS, the first Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament for the region in 2021, plus Team Unique asked Valve to launch a full investigation into the cheating allegations against Akuma.

In an open letter to CS:GO‘s developer, the teams suspect that Akuma, who surprised just about everyone in the tournament, grabbed third place and beat renowned squads such as Natus Vincere and Virtus Pro. Akuma allegedly “received live data from third parties on external devices” during their matches to see their adversaries’ positions on the map, gaining an illegal competitive edge.

The letter also brought several concerns on how the RMR tournament, organized by Epic Esports Events and the Russian Esports Federation (RESF), was run and suggested solutions to prevent similar problems from happening in future tournaments that will serve as qualifiers for the PGL Stockholm Major in October.

Epic Esports Events and the RESF did not record the teams’ communications, which is a measure that the organizations believe to be crucial for every big tournament. Other tournament organizers have used it to help investigate potential cases of wrongdoing in the past, according to the open letter. The RMR event was also played without a third-party anti-cheat and the GOTV, in some matches, was alleged to be without delay or a delay up to 30 seconds.

Akuma’s surprising run at the EPIC League CIS has been a hot topic in the CS:GO community especially after several clips of the team’s actions in matches have surfaced. In particular, questions have been raised as to why their players were looking into the game radar so much during clutch situations.

The RESF said on a statement on last Sunday, May 30 that it had investigated Akuma.

“The review of Akuma’s players’ hardware and software revealed no signs of foul play,” the federation said. The RESF contacted Valve and the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) regarding the situation and is ready to conduct a retrial if necessary.

The full open letter, first published on HLTV, can be read in its entirety below:

Open letter to Valve’s CS:GO division

Dear CS:GO team,

We want to share our feedback on the CIS RMR held by the RESF. Our mutual concern is a suspicion of dishonest play from the Akuma team/players. Based on the information we have, we suspect that the Akuma team/players received live data from third parties on external devices in order to gain the unfair advantage of seeing opponents’ positions on the map at all times.

In its statement, RESF claimed that no evidence was found that Akuma violated the integrity of the tournament. However, we doubt that the investigation followed all of the appropriate protocols because of the following limitations:

  • TeamSpeak communications were never recorded. Teams repeatedly questioned this decision and asked that all communications be recorded, but their requests were dismissed. The RESF explained this with the fact that recording TeamSpeak communications was not in Valve’s requirements. However, we believe that recording TeamSpeak communications has long been the norm for every big tournament, not to mention the qualifiers for a Major;
  • There was no third-party anti-cheat, which has long been an industry standard and an additional tool for any leading TO;
  • In some of the matches there was no GOTV delay, while in others there was a delay of up to 30 seconds.

Considering this, we ask that you involve ESIC or any other competent authority not only to conduct a full investigation into Akuma, but also to lay out protocols to ensure that this scenario will not occur again in the future. If the legitimacy of Akuma’s actions is confirmed, this will also help their players by minimizing any pressure that they might face from the community in future tournaments.

Given the specifics of the described situation, we are eager to provide all the information our teams have in order to find the truth behind what happened.

For the upcoming tournaments, regardless of the outcome of the investigation, we believe that following requirements should be considered:

  • Data providers can only sell data with a 20-30 second delay;
  • TeamSpeak communications must be recorded by all teams for every game;
  • GOTV must have a 120-second delay;
  • In addition to a camera in front of the player, there should be an extra camera capturing the whole setup of the player;
  • Additional anti-cheat on top of VAC;
  • Other (TBD)

We recognize that data providers are an essential part of the CS:GO ecosystem, and this should continue to be the case. However, we need to make sure that this data is safe from those willing to abuse the system and gain unfair competitive advantage.

We look forward to your feedback.

Yours faithfully,

Team Spirit
Team Unique