Singapore - November 21, 2014 - Statement regarding the DreamHack Winter 2014 disqualification
Today is a sad and disheartening day for Titan CS:GO.
On November 20th one of our CS:GO players, Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian, was flagged by the Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC). The player in question was immediately suspended by Titan, pending an internal investigation by the organization.
In parallel with this, Titan also attempted to confer with Valve directly, and when enquiring about proof of the infraction the organization received the below response:
« We do not discuss players’ personal account details with third parties. However we can confirm that he is VAC banned. »
Following the organizations own investigation into the matter, KQLY confessed to having used a third party program. According to his side of the story, the use took place at the end of August, pertaining to a one week time period, outside of a competitive context and on another Steam account.
Considering the information we now have at our disposal, it is no longer possible for Titan to maintain trust in our player. We have therefore taken the decision to dismiss Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian from the team effective immediately.
« We haven’t yet fully grasped the magnitude of what is happening. It’s a huge blow to the players who have been preparing for this specific goal for weeks now… More than 3 months of work just vanished.
Obviously, we firmly condemn the act Hovik has been accused of comitting. As a professional player, it’s simply unthinkable to bahave in such a way.
Our huge disappointment is further reinforced by the decision not to allow any possibility for the team to attend this major. The players but also the partners, staff, and management of Titan have invested a great amount of work into this project; it is very hard to see everyone pay the price for an isolated case.
My thoughts go out to all the supporters too… The disappointment is huge but I know that we will come back stronger and even more determined following the hardship we are going through today. » - Jérôme "NiaK" Sudries, Team manager.
We want to stress this point: those who engage in illegitimate practices do not belong in Titan and we will be vigilant in our continuous efforts to prevent a situation like this from ever occuring again.
As for KQLY we realize there’s more to him as a person than these single actions portray and despite what has transpired, we wish him well in his future endeavors. In regard to the team as a whole we will evaluate the options available to us in order to come back stronger.
On a separate note:
As an organization we represent our players in all matters related to their professional careers – we are their employers and when our employees falter, the responsibility to act still rests on our shoulders. Finding a way forward past this tragic situation was therefore our number one priority when the news broke, doing right by our fans and the CS:GO community, as well as our remaining team members.
Sadly in this, however, we found ourselves going up against the Valve brick wall.
Upon learning of our player’s VAC ban we immediately reached out to Valve, trying to start a dialogue regarding not only the ban but more crucially its impact on the rest of our team. After an initial email exchange, however, all communications from Valve’s side ceased. Even with these attempts being facilitated by DreamHack, the response to our enquiries regarding our DHW slot and a potential replacement fifth were still met with dead silence. Much to our surprise - instead of reaching out to us directly, once an initial decision had been made - Valve instead opted for a public press release, letting us know we had been disqualified by allowing us to read it ourselves at the same time as the rest of the community.
From our side of things, we were fully open to any and all discussions, be that in regards to a replacement fifth to keep the original invite, or the possibility of getting a new fifth and fighting our way back into the tournament through the announced November 22nd qualifier. At no point in time, however, did Valve call on us to take part in any dialogue surrounding their decision making.
The actions of an individual were instead needlessly allowed to affect an entire team. Valve opted for a unilateral decision, handing out collective punishment with complete disregard for team involvement in the problem solving process.
To compete in a Major is the end goal of each season and while the road to DreamHack has not been easy, both the organization and the players have invested time as well as money in getting there. As it now stands DreamHack and Valve have announced that a new qualifier will be held on Saturday November 22nd. As we understand it, going by the continued silence from Valve, coupled with their official press statement, Titan is not invited to take part in this alternate route back into the competition. There is no rule which can be cited that backs this decision up, and Valve has in no way attempted to justify their reasoning behind disqualifying the team as a whole.
It is to us an inexplicable ruling to exclude the team based off of the actions of one, and an egregious misuse of power not allowing us the chance to compete in the resulting qualifier. This in turn makes it seem as though the entirety of the team was guilty of an infraction, whereas the remaining team members were victims of circumstances.