The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has issued Vitality a $10,000 fine as a result of their breach of the commission’s code, after the team were found to have the stream playing in the background while they were playing matches against Liquid and Complexity at BLAST Premier Global Final.
After assessing the VOD and player camera footage, ESIC found no evidence of the players being given information from the stream or that they gained an advantage in their matches due to the rulebreaking.
As a result of the findings, the esports watchdog has concluded that the organization’s staff, who were viewing the stream in the lounge area of their office behind the team, should be held responsible instead of the team itself and decided not to disqualify, suspend, or ban Vitality.
“ESIC’s assessment of the VOD footage and player camera footage does not suggest that the players were given information derived from the stream or that they gained any advantage in their matches as a result of the Code violation by the organisation,” a statement from ESIC reads. “Team Vitality’s management has accepted responsibility for the breach.”
“ESIC’s decision to fine the organisation rather than disqualify, suspend or ban the team is predicated on ESIC’s review of the evidence which indicates that taking an action in the alternative would have been a disproportionate and unfair outcome for the negligence of the organisation’s staff, who, whilst negligent, had no intentional malice in their actions.”
In December, ESIC released a statement revealing that it found that the practice of stream-sniping — watching the stream live during own matches — had been widespread online. The commission decided against taking action at the time because the resulting ban wave would have a devastating impact on the landscape but promised that it would enforce a zero-tolerance policy from then on.