VAC-Banned CS:GO Players Can Now Compete in ESL Events

ESL, the most prominent eSports tournament organizer in the world, has made a change to their rulebook that will allow Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players who have received Valve Anti-Cheat bans to participate in their tournaments.

The new rule, found in the IEM Season 12 Rulebook under section 2.5, reads:

“The league administration reserves the right to refuse players who have standing bans from the game publisher to take part in Intel Extreme Masters tournaments.
Also, ESIC bans will be honored and translated into ESL bans.
CSGO VAC bans are specifically honored, but only until 2 years after they have been issued.”

Valve’s Anti-Cheat software, introduced in 2002, was created to detect cheats in Dota 2 and CS:GO players’ system and flag them for review without informing the player. According to Valve, who has released little information regarding the software to prevent individuals from creating cheats that can circumvent the VAC, it is regular updates are implemented to different servers in small bursts and bans are issued in inconsistent intervals to keep hackers at bay.

Some of the biggest instances of VAC bans in the pro scene involve Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian and Gordin “Sf” Giry, who made headlines when they were caught in separate cheating scandals after being issued a VAC-ban. Around the same time, Simon “smn” Beck, who also received a ban, insisted that at least forty percent of all CS:GO pros used cheats to get where they are today.

It’s worth noting that the rule does not, by any stretch of the imagination, allow players who have been banned for match-fixing. Players involved in scandals like the iBUYPOWER match-fixing scandal will remain banned from ESL’s events.

Additionally, this isn’t entirely unprecedented. The rule has been used in ESEA tournaments and some lower-tier ESL events. However, HLTV’s Professeur, who initially caught the change, was able to confirm from ESL that the exceptions to the rule change are Valve-sponsored events like Majors.

Whether or not players who have been banned will return is anybody’s guess. A career in pro gaming requires several hours of training every single day, so being away from the scene for over two years can be as much of a death sentence to one’s career as a permaban.

Photo Credit: Helena Kristiansson via ESL

A certified weeb that passionately live-Tweets his reactions from esports events, Sian is one of those people that hasn’t seen the sun in weeks. You can find him on Twitter @FriendlySenpai