ESIC lifts suspension of 9z CSGO coach zakk

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has lifted the suspension of 9z CS:GO head coach Rafael ‘zakk’ Fernandes, Dexerto has confirmed.

zakk was one of the three coaches who were provisionally suspended by ESIC on May 5, days before the start of the PGL Major Antwerp, for having caught the spectator virus in competitive matches. He had the static variant of the error in 1.5 rounds in two games between 2018 and 2020 while coaching two different teams, Luminosity and 9z.

The suspension prevented him from leading 9z in their first-ever Major tournament. The South American team, featuring players from Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, were eliminated in the Challengers Stage in 23rd-24th place after losses to ENCE, MIBR and Team Liquid.

João Ferreira/PGL

zakk led 9z to the Antwerp Major, but then had to sit out the main tournament

Contacted by Dexerto, ESIC stated that after receiving “additional information” from zakk in response to his indictment, Commissioner Ian Smith “has taken the view that a provisional suspension is no longer necessary pending ESIC’s final decision.” “.

“The Commissioner would normally maintain a provisional suspension in a situation where, in the Commissioner’s opinion, there is an integrity threat, whether actual, potential or perceived, without a provisional sanction for member events,” ESIC added.

zakk was spotted coaching 9z at the Roobet Cup 2022, an online competition hosted by ESIC partner tournament organizer Relog.

The eSports watchdog informed Dexerto that a final decision on Zakk’s case would be made shortly.

Ongoing investigation

The Brazil coach is still facing a potential suspension for catching the mistake. In its May 5 statement, ESIC emphasized that with the static variant of the bug, whether or not an unfair advantage was gained, the “sheer potential for exploitation” created “an unresolved opportunity for an unfair advantage.”

The static variant is the more common variant of the coach bug, which in September 2020 resulted in 37 coaches being banned for periods ranging from just under four months to three years. It was later revealed that there were two other variants of the bug, dubbed “Free Roam” and “Third-Person.” According to ESIC, nearly a hundred coaches still face potential bans for using the bug.

João Ferreira/PGL

Last month Imperial Coach Peacemaker was released by ESIC

Alongside zakk, Imperial’s Luis “Peacemaker” Tadeu and Team Spirit’s Sergey “hally” Shavaev were provisionally suspended by ESIC ahead of the Antwerp Major. On May 26, days after completing the major, Peacemaker announced that he had been cleared by ESIC, describing the result as “the biggest win of my career.”

In a statement released two days later, ESIC said it found the evidence presented by Peacemaker “convincing”. The Brazilian coach encountered the free play variant, the more serious of the three, but as ESIC considers this variant a cheating offence, it needs to be proven that the result of an unfair advantage was achieved in order for a charge to be brought.

In the end, Peacemaker was banned for 22 days for “failing to take appropriate action to bring the bug to the attention of the appropriate authorities during or after the game in question.”

Hally, who had the static variant of the bug, remains banned from ESIC member events, with a final decision on his case expected shortly. Team Spirit will take part in the IEM Cologne Play-In phase in July, but it remains unclear whether the Russian coach will be able to lead the team at the event. ESIC lifts suspension of 9z CSGO coach zakk

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