The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive circuit is still reacting to the controversial decision by a tournament organizer to allow one of the game’s most notorious cheaters to return.
French esports organization Vexed Gaming announced yesterday that it will bring on Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian for a trial run in the upcoming ESL Championnat National event. While KQLY is allowed to compete at the event in question, he is still unable to attend any of Valve’s own Major events, the largest in CS:GO’s tournament landscape.
But only a few hours after Vexed made the announcement, players Léonard “Smyli” Michelino, Steve “jarod” Cohen, as well as analyst Renaud “WiPR” Malfait left in an act of protest. The pair released a joint statement, explaining that nobody on the roster had been notified that KQLY would be playing as the fifth man at ESL Championnat National—and were only made aware of the situation shortly before Vexed’s public announcement on May 1.
Vexed has since responded to the statement issued by the players, writing that the situation occurred due to “miscommunication internally, between players and management.”
Related: KQLY returns to competitive play
“Of course we regret that this happened as we have lost two great players, and we endeavour to learn from this mistake and implement further internal processes to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the future,” Vexed told HLTV. Following an update to its rules on March 23, tournament organizer ESL began allowing players with cheating-bans to compete at its events—if the ban is more than two years old.
Since KQLY was found using used third-party cheating software on Nov. 23, 2014, the 26-year-old is now free to compete in competitions organized by ESL. Considered to be an industry leader within esports, ESL operates the biggest CS:GO league in the world, as well as multiple large-scale LAN tournaments.
To replace Smyli, and jarod, Vexed has acquired Michael “HaRts” Zanatta, and Benjamin “drizzer” Charnet, meaning the team will be fielding a full roster in its upcoming run at the ESL Championnat Nationals event. But to some of the other competitors at the event, the fact that Vexed are competing at all is in itself an issue.
In a Tweet, one of the players from the recently created beGenius roster, Jérôme “HeUkA” Bassat, hinted that his team might not play against Vexed in their first game of the tournament. “It depends on the lineup,” he wrote.
Perhaps the most direct criticism of KQLY’s return to Vexed came from the player’s former teammate and captain, Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans. “Genius move from @Vexed_GG with @KQLY_,” Ex6TenZ wrote, before concluding his Tweet with “Good luck and have fun to find players and sponsors in the future who will want to work with you.”
As of now, Vexed will still be competing in the ESL Championnat National with KQLY. The team’s first scheduled match is against beGenius.