Counter Strike: Global Offensive

BLAST rules out coaching changes for Premier Spring Groups

BLAST has announced that it will not implement any changes to the way that coaches can interact with players for the first stage of the BLAST Premier Spring season. This comes in the wake of Valve’s decision to prohibit coaches – or any other support staff – from being on the server or in the same room as players during online Regional Major Ranking (RMR) matches.

The 2021 BLAST Premier Spring season will kick off Thursday

“We believe that the mechanisms we have in place enable us to listen and observe coaches’ actions when they are on the server and in the room with the players, which gives us greater oversight of competitive integrity by being able to directly monitor actions in real-time and have information to review post-event if any concerns are raised,” BLAST Premier Commissioner Andrew Haworth said in a statement.

“We feel that coaches provide a vital role in the professionalism of esports, improving quality of play and team performance.”

BLAST becomes the first tournament organiser to react to the game developer’s recent ruling, which is aimed at preventing the “diminished integrity of coaching from casting a shadow on the integrity of Valve-sponsored events” following the recent spectator bug and stream-sniping scandals.

Valve has determined that coaches who exploited the spectator bug, which was brought to light on August 31, will not be eligible to participate in a number of future Valve-sponsored events based on how many demerit points they were issued by Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in its September 28 report. Stephen Hanna, Director of Global Strategy & Partnerships at ESIC, recently said on Twitter that updated information on demerit points and how these have been affected by appeals will be made available soon.

On December 2, ESIC revealed that it had decided against taking action against teams, players and coaches who had been caught stream-sniping opponents during the online era of Counter-Strike. Despite considering the practice to be “widespread”, the esports watchdog group explained that the prospect of handing out a large number of bans would cause “an extremely adverse effect on CS:GO esports, particularly in the top tier”. It added that some of the cases “were simply impossible to prove” or would demand considerable resources to be examined in full.

ESIC decided to enforce a zero-tolerance stance moving forward, with Vitality the first victim as they were fined $10,000 after being caught with the stream playing in the background while they faced Liquid and Complexity in the BLAST Premier Global Final.

BLAST noted that it will “continue to monitor and review” the coaching rule after the Spring Groups, which will run from February 4-14. According to Robert Mulgan, Esports Operations Manager at BLAST, up to two members of support staff will also be allowed in the room where the team is playing or on the TeamSpeak server, though they will not be able to speak with the players or interfere with the game.

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