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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ESIC forwards evidence to Valve related to potential betting fraud in Project X, Akuma matches

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) have received evidence that Oleksandr Shyshko, the CEO of Project X, has an active CS:GO betting account and has placed “numerous bets on highly suspicious Project X matches”. The betting took place at a time when most of the current Akuma roster was playing under the Project X organization, which disbanded and ceased operations in March.

ESIC adds that Shyshko also made an accurate pre-match bet on the outcome of Virtus.proAkuma in EPIC League CIS 2021, a game at the center of cheating allegations aimed at the team led by Sergey “⁠Sergiz⁠” Atamanchuk. ESIC has forwarded the evidence received to Valve, and recommends ESIC-member Tournament Organizers to not include Akuma, a team made up of more than three current Akuma members, or any team associated with Oleksandr Shyshko in their competitions until an investigation is concluded.

ESIC forwarded evidence of potential betting fraud to Valve

The evidence was acquired through the Suspicious Betting Alert Network (SBAN), with ESIC determining that there was a “reasonable basis to believe that potential match-fixing and/or betting fraud behaviour was perpetrated”. As the tournaments in which the actions happened are not ESIC members, ESIC referred the matter to Valve for consideration.

“While ESIC has not undertaken a full investigation into the detail, extent, and validity of any particular instances of match-fixing behaviour and the perpetrators of such behaviour – information on hand would indicate that this is a matter worth investigating further,” the commissioner of ESIC, Ian Smith, explained in a statement.

“If ESIC did have jurisdiction, we would have opened a full investigation based on what we already know. ESIC has therefore referred the evidence available to us to Valve for further consideration,” Smith adds.

In the announcement, ESIC clarifies that it has “not sanctioned, nor does it currently plan to sanction any individual associated with its referral,” as they do not have the authority to conduct a full investigation. Unless otherwise instructed by Valve, their actions will be limited to “the referral of evidence, recommendations to members, and this statement”.

Akuma, an orgless, all-Ukrainian squad featuring AWPer Dmitriy “⁠SENSEi⁠” Shvorak, came into the spotlight in May. At the first CIS Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event of 2021, as the 12th highest seed at the tournament, Akuma made it to the playoffs and secured 2-0 victories over Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro, placing third overall. Shortly after, clips from the tournament broadcast started to surface, pointing out suspicious eye movement and suggesting that players are gaining info from a second device.

Notable CIS players and community members, including Natus Vincere coach Andrey “⁠B1ad3⁠” Gorodenskiy, soon made their accusations public, after which fourteen of the sixteen teams that participated in EPIC League CIS released an open letter calling on Valve to investigate Akuma. The group suspects that the team “received live [match] data from third parties on external devices” in order to gain an unfair advantage, putting the competitive integrity and the results at the Major-qualifying event under question.

While another investigation involving Akuma adds more fuel to the public outrage against the Ukrainian team, ESIC’s findings have not verified the suspicions regarding them having access to live match data in the games played in the CIS RMR tournament.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Valve targets two Majors in 2022, 2023

Valve is open to proposals for the 2022 and 2023 Counter-Strike Majors, the game developer told tournament organisers on Friday. In an email obtained by HLTV.org, Valve said that it is planning to hold two Majors each year, one in May and the other in November, with a single Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament per region prior to each event.

Tournament organisers have until the end of June to submit their proposals for the 2022 Majors and RMR competitions, with the hosts being selected during the following month. As for the 2023 events, Valve will be accepting proposals until the end of November, but it is unclear when the hosts will be chosen.

Valve wants to hold two Majors in 2022 and 2023

Valve has targeted weeks 19 and 20 (late May) for the first Major and weeks 44 and 45 (early November) for the second one. The developer said that these events should be held in a “time zone convenient for a significant proportion of CS:GO customers”, calling on tournament organisers to consider the scene’s “two prime times” (16:00 CET and 21:00 CET) when preparing their bids.

Each of the five regions (Europe, CIS, North America, South America and Asia/Oceania) will host one RMR event, on LAN, ahead of the Majors. Valve will provide support for the prize pool, travel and accommodation for these events, which should be held in weeks 14 (early April) and 39 (late September).

After a long hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Major circuit will return in the fall with the $2 million PGL Major Stockholm (October 23 – November 7), which will culminate with the playoffs held at the Avicii Arena, formerly known as Ericsson Globe. It will be the first Major since the StarLadder Major Berlin in 2019, with the RMR qualifying process already underway in an online format.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Discussing new rivalries, Valve ban changes, and expectations for 2021 on HLTV Confirmed

Chad “⁠SPUNJ⁠” Burchill, Milan “⁠Striker⁠” Švejda and Zvonimir “Professeur Burazin return for another episode of the HLTV Confirmed show, which will serve as a recap of the year so far and a look ahead at what 2021 brings.

Similar to the start-of-year episode, this one will feature a discussion about recent news, such as updates to player eligibility to play Valve-sponsored events, as well as long-term predictions for what is ahead of us.

How long will Gambit hold on to the No.1 spot?

The panel, this time without the guest, will dive deep into figuring out who the biggest winners and losers of the year so far are, and give their hot takes regarding what will happen before the start of 2022.

Topic list for HLTV Confirmed S5E36:

Recent news
– MICHU replaces tarik on EG
– ALEX leaves Cloud9
– FPX sign emi as IGL
– LAN Sweet LAN event announced for 2022
– Valve update rules VAC-related bans
– RMR madness starting
– ex-Winstrike, BNB qualify for EPL S14
BLAST Showdown
– Gambit – Heroic rivalry established
– Dark horses to look out for
– Astralis in crisis
– G2 fight through
– How to assess Spirit
– Dignitas show promise
FunSpark ULTI
– What to expect from the $250,000 event
Mid-season recap
– Winners and losers of the year so far
– Hot takes and predictions for 2021
Playtime
– Parimatch matchmaker game
– 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

Valve unveils 2020 RMR stickers; announces points reset, coach limitations

Valve has released team stickers from the 2020 Regional Major Ranking (RMR) circuit, with the capsules containing stickers from teams that would have received invites to compete at the ESL One Rio Major based on the number of points they amassed in the qualifying tournaments.

Subsequently, they have also reset the RMR standings heading into 2021, although teams who previously held Legends status in the 2020 leaderboard will begin the new circuit with 600 points, Challengers with 300, and Contenders with 100.

The 2020 RMR stickers are now available in the game

A substitute player can now also be registered independent of coaches, allowing six-man rosters to register their extra player for events. Upon their first substitution, teams will incur a penalty to their RMR points, but no subsequent penalties will be applied when a player is brought back in to a roster.

Crucially, Valve has also issued a statement on the coaching bans handed down by ESIC in September 2020, ruling that some of those that were involved in exploiting the coaching bug will be barred from attending Majors.

The number of Majors that involved coaches will be banned from participating in is determined by a scaling table, with two ESIC demerit points stopping coaches from attending one Major, three demerit points preventing attendance at two Majors, and so on until six or more demerit points are reached, which will permanently ban the involved party from attending a Major event.

The way bans will apply across the board is currently unknown, given the wide range of bans and concessions given to different coaches due to coming forward. HLTV.org has reached out to ESIC for clarification on how coaches who had ban reductions by ESIC based on concession allowances, like Nicholas “⁠guerri⁠” Nogueira and Alessandro “⁠Apoka⁠” Marcucci, will be affected.

In tandem with their ruling on coaches attendance at Majors, Valve has determined that no one besides participating players will be allowed in the room where the team is playing or on the server during online RMR matches. The rule applies to both coaches and support staff, who will not even be allowed to communicate with the team during matches.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Valve open to proposals for RMR tournaments

Valve has announced that it is open to proposals for the 2021 Regional Major Ranking (RMR) events. In an email to tournament organisers, the game developer communicated its wish to host “at least two RMR events” in reach region, with the final competition being held on LAN.

The first RMR event should be held in the spring or early summer, while the last tournament should target the weeks that had been set aside for the Minors – which means that it will need to be completed two to three weeks before the start date of the Major (October 23).

Just like last year, Valve encouraged tournament organisers to reconfigure their existing events in the calendar to become RMR competitions, which will need to meet the following requirements:

– Features at least as many teams invited by RMR points as there are Major slots available for that region;
– Features the same number of additional teams, split evenly between qualifiers and direct RMR invites (if enough teams with RMR points are available);
– Within the RMR portion of the event, no participating team is invited to a later stage than those invited by RMR;
– Have distinct placement for teams across invite boundaries (I.e. no 3rd-4th combined place when the region needs to identify top three places).

Valve added that it will provide travel, accommodation and prize pool support for the final RMR tournament in each region. Attending teams will be required to obtain a visa (or equivalent) for travel to the Major prior to attending the RMR event.

Valve is yet to announce what the RMR points system will look like following the introduction of new events to the qualification cycle, which began with the StarLadder Major, held in the summer of 2019, and included a series of tournaments in 2020 in each region (three in Europe, North America, Asia, and the CIS, two in South America and Oceania). The current qualification process was unveiled by Valve in April 2020 and replaced the old invite system.

The PGL Major will be held in Stockholm from October 23 through November 7, with the playoffs due to be held in front of a live audience at the Ericsson Globe. It will be the company’s second Counter-Strike Major, after it hosted an event of this stature in the Polish city of Krakow in 2017.

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