This week we reported that the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) was taking over investigations on the former OpTic India CS:GO player Nikhil 'Forsaken' Kumawat after he was caught cheating on several occasions, and now the organisation has revealed that Forsaken has been banned "from all esports related activity for or with any ESIC member organisation for five years."
ESIC asked ESL India (one of their members) to examine Forsaken and OpTic India's performance at the ESL India Premiership, and based on that evidence, the same cheats were used there as with the eXTREMESLAND Asia finals, although no other cheats were found on the hard drives of his teammates.
The announcement adds that many were calling for a lifetime ban, but they took their time to make sure proper procedure was followed. They also tried to contact Forsaken himself, as he's entitled to due process and natural justice, but he has not responded. He still has 48 hours to respond after receiving the decision though.
"We considered the nature and extent of his cheating as a level four offence under the Code (Art 2.4.4)," ESIC writes. "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."
Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith said, "It is always desperately sad when something like this happens in esports, but this case is particularly disappointing as we have previously shown compassion and consideration for Kumawat in our prior dealings with him. Additionally, he has caused great damage to Indian CS:GO and esports and devalued an excellent competition. There is no place in esports for cheats like Kumawat and, at a personal level, I hope we never see him back in CS:GO or any other game again."
Forsaken has recently spoke to AFK Gaming about the cheating, in which he apologises to his teammates and explains why he did it.
"There was no pressure from anywhere, it was all me who wanted to win every game, wanted to be perfect in every aspect of the game," he said. "I was confident in my decisions, i was confident in understanding of the game etc but was never confident in my aim so to compensate that lack of confidence in aim I had to choose the wrong path."
He also adds that he regrets ever playing the game in the first place, and that nothing good has happened to him since he started playing.
Is this sanction fair for Forsaken?