Valve finally speaks on coaches caught cheating with exploit

Nick J. September 9, 2020

After nearly two weeks of admissions from teams and coaches that they used a long-running exploit to gain advantages in competitive matches, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developer Valve has finally commented on the scandal.

In an announcement that came alongside the developer's decision to cancel the ESL One Rio Major, Valve also handed down penalties to teams who had been caught abusing a spectator bug to view enemy teams. The list of offenders is long: MIBR, mousesports, FURIA, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and more. But unlike Valve's swift and heavy-handed response to the banning of iBUYPOWER after its match-fixing scandal in 2015, Valve's current response is more akin to a slap on the wrist. 

Valve light on coaching punishments, defaults to ESL, FACEIT, FLASHPOINT

According to CSGO's official blog post, teams that have been caught using the bug in official tournaments are only required to forfeit the Regional Ranking points used to qualify for the now nonexistent ESL One Rio Major. Furthermore, Valve had decided to wait until third-party organizers including FACEIT, ESL, and FLASHPOINT have concluded their own investigations into the matters before they render their decision.

Valve's choice here has once again shown that the company is happy to let others do their work for them, despite the indefinite bans it once handed down to players who fixed a match for a relatively small sum of cash. Now, with the stakes much higher and the prize pools involved much larger, Valve has decided to pass the buck.

That said, Valve has already decided to disqualify any teams that were found to be using the exploit during Regional Ranking tournaments. As for the coaches themselves, Valve left the situation murky.

"As for taking action against individual coaches, we’re going to wait until we get a complete picture of the extent of the bug abuse and the punishments handed down by third parties. Regardless of those penalties, mid-match coaching will always be a tempting opportunity for some teams to violate the integrity of the match. So we may also consider limitations to coaching," Valve said.

Limitations for coaching had already been in place for several years under Valve's own orders, allowing coaches to communicate with their teams only during timeouts. That ruling was reversed earlier this year with the approval of Valve and tournament organizers. Ultimately, how Valve decides to handle these infractions could have lasting effects on the future of CSGO.