ESL India has announced that the ESL Fall Finale will be replayed after discovering evidence of cheating by disgraced Optic Gaming pro player Nikhil 'Forsaken' Kumawat. Matches involving losing semi-finalists and finalists to Optic Gaming will be replayed. 2eZ Gaming will take on Slaughter Rage Army on October 28. The winner of this best of three match will represent India in the ESL Pro League Asia finals.
"We at ESL India have completed a thorough review of the recent incident regarding Nikhil 'Forsaken' Kumawat and OpTic India at the ESL India Premiership Fall Season CS:GO final and we would like to apologize that cheating could even happen at this competition," reads a post from the organisers. Furthermore, in line with the E-sports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) ruling, Kumawat will be banned for five years from playing in tourneys organised by ESL and its partners.
"In accordance with a ruling by the E-sports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), Kumawat stands banned for a length of five years. This ban will prevent him from taking part in any and all ESL, Nodwin Gaming and other ESIC Partner events up to October 25, 2023."
Yesterday ESIC revealed that Forsaken would be the recipient of a five year ban rather than a lifetime one.
"We considered the nature and extent of his cheating as a level four offence under the Code (Art 2.4.4)," claims ESIC General Manager Kezra Powell.
"For a second offence, the maximum sanction is a lifetime ban, but we took the view that this was not proportionate as his first offence in 2017 was only very indirectly related to this offence and that a lifetime ban would have been disproportionate. We are conscious that many in the CS:GO community will disagree with this and we understand their feelings, but do not agree and feel that sanctions in esports ought to reflect what is accepted practice in traditional sports as our industry professionalises."
Previously it was reported that Optic Gaming may exit India. The e-sports company set up shop in India in May this year with support from local firms such as content agency AFK Gaming and e-sports platform SoStronk providing marketing and technical support respectively. A month after its inception Optic India was announced. This was its all-Indian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. Optic India was disbanded last week following the discovery of Forsaken using hacks. Now it seems that the organisation as a whole plans to exit India.
"The company is now calculating its options and in a drastic development may move out of India altogether," claims one report citing sources "in the know-how of these things."
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