Code of Conduct

CONTENTS

Article 1 Scope and Application
Article 2 Offences
Article 3 Reporting an Alleged Offence
Article 4 Notification Procedure
Article 5 The Disciplinary Procedure
Article 6 Standard of Proof and Evidence
Article 7 Sanctions on Players and Player Support Personnel
Article 8 Appeals
Article 9 Recognition of Decisions
Article 10 Amendment and Interpretation of the Code of Conduct
Appendix 1 Expedited Procedure for Code of Conduct Offences Occurring During an Event

INTRODUCTION

This  Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel (the ‘Code of Conduct’) is adopted and implemented as part of ESIC’s continuing efforts to maintain the public image, popularity and integrity of Esport by providing an effective means to deter any Participant from conducting themselves improperly whilst participating in Esports or acting in any way as an ambassador for or representative of an ESIC Member.

 

ARTICLE 1- SCOPE AND APPLICATION

1.1 All Participants are automatically bound by and required to comply with all of the provisions of the Code of Conduct. Participants shall be deemed to have agreed:

1.1.1 that it is their personal responsibility to familiarise themselves with all of the requirements of the Code of Conduct, including what conduct constitutes an offence under the Code of Conduct;

1.1.2 to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of any Match Referee, the Integrity Commissioner, Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Panel convened under the Disciplinary Procedure to hear and determine charges brought (and any appeals in relation thereto) pursuant to the Code of Conduct; and

1.1.3 not to bring any proceedings in any court or other forum that are inconsistent with the foregoing submission to the jurisdiction of the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner, Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Panel.

1.2 All Participants shall continue to be bound by and required to comply with the Code of Conduct until he/she has not participated in a Match or been involved in any Event for a period of six (6) months and ESIC shall continue to have jurisdiction over him/her under the Code of Conduct thereafter in respect of matters taking place prior to that point.

1.3 Without prejudice to Articles 1.1 and 1.2, ESIC and the Members shall be responsible for promoting Code of Conduct awareness and education amongst Participants; in particular Players and Player Support Personnel.

1.4 It is acknowledged that certain Participants may also be subject to other rules of Members that govern discipline and/or conduct, and that the same conduct of such Participants may implicate not only the Code of Conduct but also such other rules that may apply. For the avoidance of any doubt, Participants acknowledge and agree that: (a) the Code of Conduct is not intended to limit the responsibilities of any Participant under such other rules; and (b) nothing in such other rules shall be capable of removing, superseding or amending in any way the jurisdiction of the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner, Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Panel to determine matters properly arising pursuant to the Code of Conduct.

ARTICLE 2 – OFFENCES

The conduct described in Articles 2.1 – 2.5, if committed by a Participant shall amount to an offence by such Participant under the Code of Conduct.

Comment: Where considered helpful, guidance notes have been provided in text boxes beneath the description of a particular offence. Such notes are intended only to provide guidance as to the nature and examples of certain conduct that might be prohibited by a particular Article and should not be read as an exhaustive or limiting list of conduct prohibited by such Article.

2.1 Level 1 Offences:

2.1.1 Abuse of gaming equipment/hardware or facilities provided for a Match or Event by a Member. For the avoidance of any doubt, there shall be no requirement that the Match Referee must first provide a warning to the offending person before a breach of this Article can be established.

Note: Article 2.1.1 includes any action(s) outside the course of Game play actions, such as deliberately breaking, attempting to break, hitting or kicking equipment, furnishings, facilities, advertising boards or other fixtures.

2.1.2 Disobeying or showing noticeable or disruptive dissent at the reasonable instructions or requests of Match Referees or other Official/s responsible for the smooth running and administration of Events.

2.1.3 Using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during a Match or Event.

Note: Article 2.1.3 includes: (a) excessively audible or repetitious swearing; and (b) obscene gestures which are not directed at another person, such as swearing in frustration at one’s own poor play or fortune. For clarity, this offence is not intended to penalise trivial behaviour. When assessing the seriousness of the breach, the Match Referee shall be required to take into account the context of the particular situation and whether the words or gesture are likely to: (a) be regarded as obscene; (b) give significant offence; or (c) insult another person. This offence is not intended to cover any use of language or gestures that are likely to offend another person on the basis of their race, religion, gender, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin. Such conduct is prohibited and comes under more serious levels of offence later in this Code.

2.1.4 Public criticism of, or inappropriate public comment in relation to an incident occurring in a Match or any Player, Player Support Personnel, Official or Team participating in any Match, irrespective of when such criticism or inappropriate comment is made.

2.1.5 Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct that brings Esports, the Game, Event, ESIC or a Member into disrepute.

2.2 Level 2 Offences:

2.2.1 Showing serious dissent at a Match Referee’s or the Integrity Commissioner’s (or his delegate’s) decision during a Match or Event.

2.2.2 Breach of Event clothing, equipment, commercial or media obligations during a Match or Event.

2.2.3 Serious public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to, an incident occurring in a Match or Event or any Player, Player Support Personnel, Official or Team participating in a Match, irrespective of when such criticism or inappropriate comment is made.

2.2.4 Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between Players and/or Player Support Personnel and/or Officials during a Match or Event.

2.2.5 Behaving in a threatening manner or advancing towards another Participant or Official in an aggressive manner during a Match or Event.

2.2.6 Deliberate and malicious distraction or obstruction of another Participant during a Match.

2.2.7 Using language or gesture(s) that is seriously obscene, seriously offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another Player, Player Support Personnel, Official or any other third person during a Match or Event.

Note: It is acknowledged that there will be verbal exchanges between Participants in the course of an Event. Rather than seeking to eliminate these exchanges entirely, Match Referees are required to deal with or report such conduct that falls below an acceptable standard. This offence is not intended to penalise trivial behaviour. When assessing the seriousness of the breach, the Match Referee or relevant official shall be required to take into account the context of the particular situation and whether the words or gesture are likely to: (a) be regarded as seriously obscene; or (b) give serious offence; or (c) seriously insult another person. This offence is not intended to cover any use of language or gestures that are likely to offend another person on the basis of their race, religion, gender, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin. Such conduct is prohibited and must be dealt with as a more serious level of offence in this Code.

2.2.8 Any attempt to manipulate a Match for inappropriate strategic or tactical reasons.

Note: Article 2.2.8 is intended to prevent the manipulation of Matches or Games for inappropriate strategic or tactical reasons (such as when a Player or Team deliberately loses a pool Match in an Event in order to affect the standings of other Players or Teams in that Event).Article 2.2.8 is not intended to cover any corrupt or fraudulent acts (including any use of inside information and/or related betting activity). Such conduct is prohibited under the Anti-Corruption Code and must be dealt with accordingly. The Team captain and/or manager of any Team guilty of such conduct shall be held primarily responsible (and subject to sanction) for any offence found to have been committed under this Article, but other Players in any Team may also receive sanctions under this Article.

2.2.11 Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct that brings Esport, the Game, Event, ESIC or a Member into disrepute.

2.3 Level 3 Offences:

2.3.1 Intimidation of any Participant whether by language or conduct (including gestures).

2.3.2 Threat of assault on another Participant or any other person (including a spectator) during a Match or Event.

2.3.3 Cheating or attempting to cheat to win a Game or Match.

Note: Cheating to win is either a level 3 (as in this Article) or level 4 offence depending on the nature and seriousness of the cheating (in the entire discretion of the Match Referee, the Integrity Commissioner or their delegates). Without limitation, cheating can include:
“Map Hack” (using external software to gain more vision than intended by the game mechanics)
“Aim Bot” (using external software to automatically hit opponents when firing a weapon)
“Ghosting” (getting additional information about the game, usually the opponent, from third party sources like stream viewers or the live audience)
Any external software that directly tampers with the game software to gain any kind of advantage in the game.
Article 2.3.3 is not intended to cover any corrupt or fraudulent acts related to betting activity. Such conduct is prohibited under the Anti-Corruption Code and must be dealt with accordingly. The Team captain and/or manager of any Team guilty of such conduct shall be held primarily responsible (and subject to sanction) for any offence found to have been committed under this Article, but other Players in any Team may also receive sanctions under this Article.

2.3.4 Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct that brings Esport, the Game, Event, ESIC or a Member into disrepute.

2.4 Level 4 Offences:

2.4.1 Threat of assault on a Participant during a Match or Event.

2.4.2 Physical assault of another Participant any other person (including a spectator) during a Match or Event.

2.4.3 Any act of violence in the Match or Event environment (including any hotel or other accommodation where more than one Player or Team is staying during or immediately either side of an Event).

2.4.4 Cheating or attempting to cheat to win a Game or Match.

2.4.5 Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct that brings Esport, the Game, Event, ESIC or a Member into disrepute.

Note: Cheating to win is either a level 3 or level 4 (as in this Article) offence depending on the nature and seriousness of the cheating (in the entire discretion of the Match Referee, the Integrity Commissioner or their delegates). Without limitation, cheating can include:
“Map Hack” (using external software to gain more vision than intended by the game mechanics)
“Aim Bot” (using external software to automatically hit opponents when firing a weapon)
“Ghosting” (getting additional information about the game, usually the opponent, from third party sources like stream viewers or the live audience)
Any external software that directly tampers with the game software to gain any kind of advantage in the game.

ARTICLE 3 – REPORTING AN ALLEGED OFFENCE

Note: Where a Code of Conduct offence is alleged to have occurred during, or in relation to an Event, the Code of Conduct shall apply in full, but with a series of amendments to the reporting process (Article 3), Disciplinary Procedure and appeal process (Contained in the Disciplinary Procedure) in order to ensure that any matters arising can be dealt with expediently and with minimum disruption to the Event.

3.1 Any one of the following individuals can report an alleged offence under the Code of Conduct by lodging a report in the manner described in Article 3.2, below (a ‘Report’):

3.1.1 a Match Referee that officiated in the Match or Event during which the alleged offence was committed;

3.1.2 the team captain, manager or CEO of either of the two Teams participated in the Match during, or in relation to which, the alleged offence was committed;

3.1.3 the authorised ESIC representative of the Member in or during who’s Game, Match or Event the alleged offence took place.

3.1.3 the Integrity Commissioner.

3.2 All Reports must be completed in writing (including email) clearly designated “Report under the Code of Conduct” and set out as much detail as possible about the alleged offence and sent to the person designated to receive reports in Article 3.2.1 below. The reporter must ensure it is clear by whom the Report is being or has been made. Reports made under Articles 3.2.1.1 and 3.2.1.2 can initially be made verbally or by instant messenger or in-game communications, but a summary in writing must be sent to the Integrity Commissioner within 24 hours of the verbal Report by the person to whom the verbal Report is made (usually the Match Referee).

3.2.1 Where the Report is lodged by any of the individuals authorised under Article 3.1 in relation to:

3.2.1.1 a Level 1 or Level 2 Offence that is alleged to have been committed during a Match or Event, then the Report must be lodged without delay with the Match Referee (except in exceptional circumstances, at least prior to the start of the next Match involving the Player or Team against whom the Report is being made); or

3.2.1.2 a Level 1 or Level 2 Offence that is alleged to have been committed at any time or place other than during a Match or Event must be lodged with the Match Referee (or, where, for logistical reasons, it is impractical to lodge with the Match Referee, the Integrity Commissioner) as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any event, no later than forty-eight (48) hours after: (a) the commission of the alleged offence; or (b) the alleged offence was brought to the attention of the person lodging the Report; or

3.2.1.3 a Level 3 or Level 4 Offence that is alleged to have been committed, then the Report must be lodged with the Integrity Commissioner as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any event no later than three (3) days after either: (a) the commission of the alleged offence; or (b) the alleged offence was brought to the attention of the person lodging the Report.

3.3 Where it is alleged that a Participant has committed more than one offence under the Code of Conduct, then a separate Report should be filed in accordance with this Article 3 for each of the offences that are alleged to have been committed, unless, in the entire discretion of the person making the Report, the alleged offences occurred during the same incident or arose out of the same set of circumstances, in which case, the allegations can be made in one report.

 

ARTICLE 4 – NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE

Level 1 and Level 2 Offences:

4.1 Where a Match Referee makes or receives a Report, he/she must promptly provide a copy of the Report, together with a Notice of Charge (where he/she determines in their absolute discretion that there is a case to answer) to the following individuals:

4.1.1 the Participant/s named in the Report, or, where appropriate, the relevant Team Captain; and

4.1.2 the Team Manager (if there is one) of any relevant Participant named in the Report.

4.2 The Notice of Charge shall specify that the Participant shall have the following three options:

4.2.1 he/she may admit the offence charged and accede to the suggested sanction specified in the Notice of Charge (which sanction shall be strictly at the Match Referee’s discretion, but at all times within the appropriate range for the level of Offence by reference to the Disciplinary Procedure). In such circumstances, and provided that such admission has been received by the Match Referee prior to the commencement of any hearing offered in the Notice of Charge, the hearing before the Match Referee shall not be required and no further action shall be taken, save that ESIC shall promptly issue a public statement confirming: (a) the commission of an offence under the Code of Conduct; and (b) the imposition of the applicable sanction specified in the Notice of Charge as accepted by the Participant; or

4.2.2 he/she may admit the offence charged but dispute the suggested sanction specified in the Notice of Charge, in which case the matter shall proceed to a hearing in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure; or

4.2.3 he/she may deny the offence charged, in which case the matter shall proceed to a hearing in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure.

Level 3 Offences and Level 4 Offences:

4.3 Where the Integrity Commissioner receives a Report, he/she must promptly conduct a review to determine whether the Participant named in the Report has a case to answer.

4.4 If the initial review of the Report reveals that there is no case to answer, then the Integrity Commissioner shall notify the person who filed the Report of that fact, and the matter shall not proceed any further.

4.5 If the initial review of the Report reveals that there is a case to answer, then the Integrity Commissioner shall promptly provide a copy of the Report, together with a Notice of Charge to the following individuals:

4.5.1 the Participant named in the Report; and

4.5.2 the Team Manager (if there is one) of any Participant named in the Report; and

4.5.3 the CEO/s (or his/her designate/s) of the Member/s during whose Game and/or Event  the alleged offence took place.

4.6 The Notice of Charge shall specify that the Participant shall have the following options:

4.6.1 he/she may admit the offence charged and accede to the suggested sanction specified in the Notice of Charge (which sanction shall be strictly at the Integrity Commissioner’s discretion, but at all times within the appropriate range for the level of offence as set out in the Disciplinary Procedure). In such circumstances, and provided that such admission has been received by the Integrity Commissioner prior to the commencement of the hearing at the time/place specified in the Notice of Charge, the hearing shall not be required and no further action shall be taken, save that ESIC shall promptly issue a public statement confirming: (a) the commission of an offence under the Code of Conduct; and (b) the imposition of the applicable sanction specified in the Notice of Charge; or

4.6.2 he/she may admit the offence charged but dispute the suggested sanction specified in the Notice of Charge, in which case the matter shall proceed to a hearing in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure; or

4.6.3 he/she may deny the offence charged, in which case the matter shall proceed to a hearing in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure.

 

ARTICLE 5 – THE DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE

The procedure to be used to deal with allegations of offences under this Code of Conduct is the ESIC Disciplinary Procedure.

ARTICLE 6 – STANDARD OF PROOF AND EVIDENCE

6.1 Unless otherwise described herein, the standard of proof in all cases brought under the Code of Conduct shall be whether the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel (as appropriate) is comfortably satisfied, bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation that is made, that the alleged offence has been committed. This standard of proof in all cases shall be determined on a sliding scale from, at a minimum, a mere balance of probability (for the least serious offences) up to close to, but not as high as, proof beyond a reasonable doubt (for the most serious offences).

6.2 The Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel shall not be bound by judicial rules governing the admissibility of evidence. Instead, facts relating to an offence committed under the Code of Conduct may be established by any reliable means, including admissions.

6.3 The Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel may draw an inference adverse to the Participant who is asserted to have committed an offence under the Code of Conduct based on his/her refusal, without compelling justification, after a request made in a reasonable time in advance of the hearing, to appear at the hearing (either in person or telephonically as directed by the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel) and/or to answer any relevant questions.

ARTICLE 7 – SANCTIONS ON PARTICIPANTS

7.1 Where a Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel determines that an offence under the Code of Conduct has been committed, he/she/it will be required to impose an appropriate sanction on the Participant.

7.2 In order to determine the sanction that is to be imposed in each case, the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel must first consider whether the Participant has previously been found guilty of an offence under the Code of Conduct within a period of twenty four months prior to the date on which the alleged offence took place.

7.3 Once the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel has established whether this is a repeat offence within the relevant twenty four month period, then they shall go on to take into account any other factors that they deem relevant and appropriate to the mitigation or aggravation of the nature of the Code of Conduct offence (including, without limitation, the nature and frequency of any previous offences under the Code of Conduct) before determining, in accordance with the following table, what the appropriate sanction(s) should be:

 

Level of Offence Range of Sanctions (first offence) Range of Sanctions (second offence) Range of Sanctions (third offence) Range of Sanctions (fourth and subsequent offences)
Level 1 Warning/reprimand and/or a fine of up to 25% of Match and/or Event prize money (or equivalent for non-Players) Fine of up to 50% of Match and/or Event prize money (or equivalent) and/or 2 Suspension Points Fine of up to 100% of Match and/or Event prize money (or equivalent) and/or between 2 and 8 Suspension Points Fine of any size and/or 8 Suspension Points and/or a fixed term of suspension from the Game and/or Event/s for up to 12 months
Level 2 A fine of up to 50% of Match and/or Event prize money (or equivalent) and/or up to two (2) Suspension Points. A fine of up to 100% of Match and/or Event prize money (or equivalent) and/or between two (2) and eight (8) Suspension Points Eight (8) Suspension Points or a fixed term of suspension from the Game and/or Event/s for up to 12 months A fixed term of suspension from the Game and/or Event/s of between 1 and 5 years.
Level 3 A fine of up to 100% of Match and/or Event prize money (or equivalent) and/or up to four (4) Suspension Points Eight (8) Suspension Points or a fixed term of suspension from the Game and/or Event/s for up to 12 months A fixed term of suspension from the Game and/or Event/s of between 1 and 5 years. A fixed term of suspension from the Game and/or Event/s up to a lifetime.
Level 4 A fine of up to 100% of Match and/or Event Prize money (or equivalent) and/or between 4 and 8 Suspension Points and/or a fixed term of suspension from the Game and/or Event/s of up to 24 months The imposition of a suspension from the Game and/or Event/s and/or any Game/s and/or and Event/s and/or all Esports of between one (1) year and a lifetime Up to a lifetime suspension from all Esports n/a

7.4 Suspension Points shall accrue to a Participant over a rolling 24 month period. When a Participant accumulates 8 (or more) Suspension Points, he or she shall automatically be suspended until after the conclusion of next Member Event he/she has entered or is due to be involved in an another capacity of a similar or reasonably comparable status to that which he/she usually plays in the opinion of the Integrity Commissioner (or, if no Events of a comparable status have been entered, could reasonably have been expected to enter in the discretion of the Integrity Commissioner).

7.5 For the avoidance of any doubt:

7.5.1 the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel will have jurisdiction to adjust, reverse or amend the results of any Match or Event where appropriate in their absolute discretion;

7.5.2 where a Participant is found guilty of committing two separate Code of Conduct offences that do not relate to the same incident or set of circumstances and is sanctioned separately for each offence, then any sanctions should run cumulatively (and not concurrently);

7.5.3 where a Participant is found guilty of committing two Code of Conduct offences in relation to the same incident or set of circumstances and is sanctioned separately, then any sanctions imposed should run concurrently (and not cumulatively);

7.5.4 nothing in this Code of Conduct shall permit plea bargaining in relation to any alleged offence committed under this Code of Conduct;

7.5.5 where the Match Referee, Integrity Commissioner or Disciplinary Panel finds a Participant not guilty of the offence, then it remains open to him/her, at his/her discretion, to find the Participant guilty of an offence of a lower level than that with which he/she has been charged. For example where a Participant has been charged with (but been found not guilty of) a Level 2 Offence, the Match Referee may, instead, find the Participant guilty of the Level 1 Offence and impose an appropriate sanction; and

7.5.6 where a fine is imposed against a Player, then such fine shall be deducted directly from the prize money due to the Player and redistributed amongst all other players/teams eligible for prize money in the relevant Match/Event. In all other cases and in respect of costs awards and cases involving Participants other than Players, fines and costs awards must be paid to ESIC by the Participant within ten (10) working days of the finding of guilt. However, ESIC will consider any request from any Participant to make the payment of such fines and/or costs over a prolonged period of time on the grounds of financial hardship. Should any fine and/or costs award (or agreed part-payment or instalment thereof) not be paid within such deadline or by the time of the next agreed payment date, the Participant may not play or otherwise participate or be involved in any capacity in any Match or Event until such payment has been satisfied in full. Any money paid to ESIC pursuant to this clause will be donated to a registered charity at the discretion of the ESIC Executive Board.

7.6 Once any period of suspension has expired, the Participant will automatically become re-eligible to participate in Matches provided that he/she has paid, in full, all amounts forfeited under the Code of Conduct, including any fines, compensatory awards or award of costs that may have been imposed against him/her.

ARTICLE 8 – APPEALS

The procedure for appeals against decisions made under this Code is set out in the Disciplinary Procedure. It should be noted that there is no appeal from decisions in relation to a first Level 1 Offence.

ARTICLE 9 – RECOGNITION OF DECISIONS

9.1 Any sanctions, hearing results or other final adjudications under the Code of Conduct shall be recognised and respected by all Members of ESIC automatically upon receipt of notice of the same,

without the need for any further formality. Each of ESIC and its Members shall take all steps legally available to it to enforce and give effect to such decisions.

ARTICLE 10 – AMENDMENT AND INTERPRETATION

10.1 The Code of Conduct may be amended from time to time by the Executive Board of ESIC, with such amendments coming into effect on the date specified by ESIC.

10.2 The Code of Conduct shall come into full force and effect on 1st May 2016 (the ‘Effective Date’). It shall not apply retrospectively to matters pending before the Effective Date.

10.3 If any Article or provision of this Code of Conduct is held invalid, unenforceable or illegal for any reason, the Code of Conduct shall remain otherwise in full force apart from such Article or provision which shall be deemed deleted insofar as it is invalid, unenforceable or illegal.

10.4 The Code of Conduct is governed by and shall be construed in accordance with English law.