ESIC imposes sanctions on coaches from Team Spirit, 9z, and Imperial for use of CS:GO spectator bug

The coaches will miss the PGL Antwerp Major and be suspended for a lengthy amount of time.

Image via Valve

The Esports Integrity Commission has officially publicized and implemented sanctions against the coaches of Team Spirit, 9z, and Imperial Esports for their use of the CS:GO spectator bug.

Spirit coach Sergey “hally” Shavayev and 9z coach Rafael “zakk” Fernandes have been suspended for use of the “static” spectator bug. Hally was coaching Empada at the time, and zakk reportedly used it twice with LG in 2018 and 9z in 2020. Imperial coach Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu is suspended for using the deemed “more egregious free-roam” bug while he coached Heroic in 2018. No coach used the bug for more than two rounds.

ESIC announced on Thursday, May 5, that sanctions were impending following its exhaustive investigation into the use of the spectator bug. During this investigation, the ESIC looked into thousands of rounds where one of three variants of the spectator bug was used. Three coaches were found to have been using the most egregious of the variants, the “free-roam” bug, and were provisionally suspended. We now know that one of those coaches is peacemaker.

The May 5 statement from ESIC also said that it had provisionally suspended three coaches attending the PGL Antwerp Major because they were using “the more serious variants,” although it did not clarify if that was the “free-roam” variant or the “static” variant used. Both 9z and Team Spirit acknowledged on May 6, prior to the latest ESIC announcement, that their coaches had been suspended.

Both 9z’s coach and founder took issue with when the suspension was applied since the use of the bug happened in 2018 and ESIC reportedly concluded its investigation “14 months ago,” according to coach zakk. Team Spirit and their coach hally also took issue with the timing of the suspension, claiming that he used the bug for one round in 2019 while coaching a different team.

All three coaches were deemed by ESIC to not have acted “in an appropriate manner” in response to the bugs. All three coaches will be suspended from all ESIC Member events for a period of time noted in the soon-to-be-released Notice of Charges. They will not be allowed to participate at PGL Antwerp.

Update May 6 12:28pm CT: PGL confirmed that hally, zakk, and peacemaker are banned from the Antwerp Major.

About the author
Scott Robertson

VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.