Gambit reinstates F_1N as coach following end of ESIC ban

Luís Mira
F_1N coaching Gambit at DH Sevilla
Joao Ferreira/DreamHack

Gambit has confirmed to Dexerto that Ivan ‘F_1N’ Kochugov has been reinstated as the team’s head coach after he served his 8.75-month ban for using the spectator bug.

The Russian was one of the 37 coaches who were banned by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in September 2020 for using the spectator bug for competitive advantage.

According to the esports watchdog, F_1N used the bug in six matches between 2017 and 2020 while coaching Gambit Youngsters, the name under which Gambit’s current team used to compete before becoming the organization’s primary lineup.

F_1N was moved to an analyst position following his ban, with Konstantin ‘groove’ Pikiner, Gambit’s CEO, taking over as head coach. groove, a former Counter-Strike player and coach, oversaw a period of unparalleled success for the team as they emerged as the dominant force in the scene at the beginning of 2021, winning a series of international tournaments, including IEM Katowice and the BLAST Premier Spring Final, and climbing to the top of the world rankings.

Gambit will return to action from the player break only on September 1, in Group D of ESL Pro League Season 14, which also includes Ninjas in Pyjamas, Liquid, FURIA, TeamOne, and Entropiq.

Despite being cleared to coach again, F_1N remains permanently banned by Valve, given the extent and the frequency of the bug abuse, Gambit has confirmed. groove will be taking charge of the team in the final Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event of the year and at PGL Major Stockholm, should Gambit qualify.

After finishing IEM Cologne in 5th-6th place, Gambit will be hoping to return to winning ways in ESL Pro League, which will be held online and not in Malta as initially planned due to global travel restrictions.