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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ESIC involves FBI in North American match-fixing investigation

The Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), Ian Smith, has revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now involved in the ongoing investigation into match-fixing in North American Counter-Strike, which has been underway since September 2020.

Mr. Smith stated that the investigation is covering two groups: one consisting of players who bet on themselves when the opportunity struck, and one group of players who were bribed by outside “betting syndicates” in order to fix matches in an organised fashion.

“It is part of a far bigger investigation, which is going to take us a little bit longer, unfortunately, which is that… there has been, amongst a relatively small but significant group of players, over a long period of time, organized match-fixing in North American MDL,” the ESIC Commissioner explained in an interview with CS:GO content creator “slash32”.

“We are, to some extent, working with law enforcement, working with the FBI, who only recently have had a sports betting investigative unit within the FBI. They’re good, but they are inexperienced because sports betting hasn’t really been a thing in America until recently, so everybody is kind of finding their feet on that one.”

The findings of the first subsection of the investigation, Mr. Smith added, should be made public “within the next ten days to two weeks”. He added that the commission has “really good corroborating evidence” of wrongdoing and that the players will be banned “for a very, very long time”. In January, 35 players were banned for periods ranging from 12 months to five years for betting-related offences in Australian events.

“The first part we’ll deal with quite quickly, because… we’re dealing with idiots, basically,” Mr. Smith said.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Extra Salt sweep paiN to win DreamHack Open March North America

Extra Salt claimed on Sunday the title of DreamHack Open March North America champions, dropping only a single map over the course of the tournament and culminating their run with a 3-0 sweep over paiN in the grand final to earn $35,000 and book a ticket to IEM Summer 2021.

“Words can’t describe the win, it’s been much waited on,” Aran “⁠Sonic⁠” Groesbeek said in a post-match interview. Regarding the team’s next steps now that they have cemented their place as the best team playing in North America, Sonic said that Extra Salt have always had their sights set on playing in Europe, where they plan to play for “quite a while.” When asked about the chance that Extra Salt passes Cloud9 in the world rankings following their win, Sonic simply said: “Expected.”

Extra Salt are set to travel to Europe in short order as they will compete in the FunSpark ULTI 2020 Europe Final from April 19-26, with appearances at DreamHack Masters Spring and IEM Summer also on their calendar in the following months.

oSee averaged a 1.36 rating in the grand final

paiN got off to a blazing start on Inferno, racing ahead to an 8-2 lead on the offense of their own map pick. It took a triple kill from oSee to get Extra Salt back in the running, but from there, Johnny “⁠JT⁠” Theodosiou‘s troops assumed firm control, going on a 13-1 spree of rounds to rapidly attain match point before closing out the map shortly afterwards.

A back-and-forth trading of rounds unfolded at the onset of Train, but this time it was Extra Salt who came out on top, with oSee leading the way in a 10-5 T side effort. An ace from Sonic in the second pistol and subsequent anti-eco conversion allowed Extra Salt to extend their lead, but paiN remained resilient, winning eight rounds in a row to keep themselves in contention before Extra Salt stabilized, winning four final rounds to go up 2-0 in the series.

oSee and company continued to show strong form in the starting moments on Mirage, with the 21-year-old AWPer leading the way in an 8-3 start for Extra Salt. Multi-kill rounds from Wesley “⁠hardzao⁠” Lopes put paiN back in the running as they clawed back to a one-round deficit at the half, and another six rounds off the break gave the Brazilian team a 13-8 lead. Yet again though, Extra Salt had a resurgence in the closing moments of the map, recovering a 2vs4 situation and later regaining control off the back of a crucial 1vs3 clutch from Justin “⁠FaNg⁠” Coakley to edge out a 16-14 win and take the series.

Brazil

North America

DreamHack Open March North America final standings:

1. North America Extra Salt – $35,000 + IEM Summer 2021 spot
2. Brazil paiN – $15,000
3-4. United States High Coast – $6,000
3-4. United States Liquid – $6,000
5-6. United States Bad News Bears – $2,500
5-6. United States Triumph – $2,500
7-8. United States Rebirth – $1,500
7-8. United States RBG – $1,500

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

[VOD] Talking Liquid and North American scene on HLTV Confirmed with moses

The ups and downs that Liquid went through since adding moses as their head coach in August of last year will be the key part of HLTV Confirmed S5E30. The American analyst-turned-coach will also give his opinion on the state of competition in North America and recent roster changes.

Liquid’s coach will take part in the show

Together with the regulars of the show, Chad “⁠SPUNJ⁠” Burchill, Milan “⁠Striker⁠” Švejda, and Zvonimir “Professeur” Burazin, moses will help break down the upcoming ESL Pro League group stage, including Liquid‘s challenging group D.

Topics for the show:

Hot seat with moses
-Moving away from broadcast work
-Settling into Liquid
-2020 run & Twistzz departure
-FalleN addition, IGL situation
-2021 Europe bootcamp and recent results
-Goals for the year
Recent news
-oBo rounds out EG roster
-G2 bench kennyS, JaCkz return to roster
-Upset-heavy DreamHack Masters qualifier
-Changes in Triumph, Extra Salt
Looking forward
-NA scene this year
-What are the high-priority tournaments in 2021?
ESL Pro League
-Group A: Roster changes and upset potential?
-Group B: Proving time (Vitality, FaZe, NIP, G2)
-Group C: Easy mode?
-Group D: Liquid’s tough predicament
Playtime
-Viewer questions and leftover topics

Keep track of the show on social media:

HLTV.org on Twitch
HLTV Confirmed on Twitter
HLTV Confirmed on Youtube
HLTV Confirmed Audio

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

North to cease operations | HLTV.org

Danish organisation North, the esports affiliate of football club F.C. Copenhagen and entertainment company Nordisk Film, announced on Friday that it will fold immediately.

In a joint statement, Parken Sport & Entertainment – the company that operates F.C. Copenhagen – and Nordisk Film cited the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the esports industry in their explanation for ceasing their investment in the organisation.

“We are of course sorry that we now have to close the Danish-based e-ports company North, which has left a nice mark on international e-sports,” Lars Bo Jeppesen, chairman of North and director of Parken Sport & Entertainment, said.

“We have searched the market to get one or more co-investors on board, but have unfortunately not found the right match. It would require significant continued investment to create a sustainable business in the future and therefore we believe that the sole responsibility for our overall business is to focus all our focus on our core business in FC Copenhagen, Parken and Lalandia, just as Nordisk Film will focus on its large core and growth businesses.”

North entered esports in January 2017 with the signing of the ex-Dignitas roster, which had won EPICENTER and climbed to No.2 in the world rankings a few months earlier. The team struggled to replicate the same results under the new organisation, though they reached two Big Event finals in their first year, at the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals and DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017.

In February 2018, North made a splash by bringing in ELEAGUE Major 2017 MVP Markus “⁠Kjaerbye⁠” Kjærbye from rivals Astralis. Later that year, the team captured a surprising title at DreamHack Masters Stockholm – the only Big Event trophy that they would be able to win as results continued to fall short of expectations.

North announced a change in direction in November 2020 as they laid out an “economically sustainable strategy” focused on identifying and nurturing young players from the Nordic region. Kristoffer “⁠Kristou⁠” Aamand was recalled from his loan with AGF, while Mathias “⁠MSL⁠” Lauridsen and Philip “⁠aizy⁠” Aistrup, two of the team’s most experienced players, were made available for transfer. The organisation also announced plans to rework the salary structure to ensure the sustainability of the business.

Last month, North completed their roster with the signing of free agent Denis “⁠grux⁠” Gutaj, formerly of SMASH. The Swedish player was due to make his debut for the team next week, in European Development Championship 2.

René “⁠cajunb⁠” Borg and Kristou were the first team members to react to the news on Twitter. Both players confirmed that they have been allowed to look for other options and expressed their wish to continue competing.

“Although I am sad about the news with North, I am also motivated to prove that I have what it takes to compete at the highest level,” said cajunb, who played for North for over two years across two spells. “I have experience, discipline and great spirit.”

North had the following team:

Denmark Nicklas “⁠gade⁠” Gade
Denmark René “⁠cajunb⁠” Borg
Sweden Jonas “⁠Lekr0⁠” Olofsson
Denmark Kristoffer “⁠Kristou⁠” Aamand
Sweden Denis “⁠grux⁠” Gutaj

Denmark Mathias “⁠MSL⁠” Lauridsen (transfer list)
Denmark Philip “⁠aizy⁠” Aistrup (transfer list)

Sweden Jimmy “⁠Jumpy⁠” Berndtsson (coach)

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ATK announce North America move

The South African roster will head to Canada with the intention of qualifying for ESEA Premier and becoming a top-five team in North America.

On a podcast, ATK have announced their intention to move to North America to continue their development. Daniel “⁠sprayxd⁠” Kogan, the team’s coach, told Dust2.us that they plan to arrive in the region in April for ESEA Season 37, or by July for Season 38.

The journey would see the ATK organisation make its second appearance in North America after previously housing the core the Extra Salt lineup in 2019. Rhys “⁠Fadey⁠” Armstrong is the most recognizable name in the South African squad, having played for the organisation’s previous team before being replaced in September 2019 following a roster overhaul.

Fadey looks to make a return to North America

ATK have won their last eight domestic events, cementing their place as the clear No. 1 team in the country. sprayxd also told Dust2.us that the players are looking into the possibility of a month-long bootcamp in Europe prior to their move to North America, where they will look to find a team house in Canada.

ATK‘s roster consists of:

South Africa Josh “⁠bLazE⁠” Saunders
South Africa Gareth “⁠MisteM⁠” Ries
South Africa Rhys “⁠Fadey⁠” Armstrong
South Africa Aaron “⁠SloWye⁠” van der Walt
South Africa Wiljahne “⁠mango⁠” Smith

Israel Daniel “⁠sprayxd⁠” Kogan (coach)

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