ESL Major Series

Call of Duty 4

Season IV Rules - Last updated: 28/04/2009




Participant - A participant is any team, or player that is on ESL Major Series team account that is taking part in the ESL Major Series.

Time - All times are given in Central European Time (CET), or Central European Summer Time (CEST) during summer time in Europe.

Season - The season lasts from the beginning of the first playweek of the Main Round until the end of the playoffs.

Playweek - A playweek is from 00:00 Monday to Midnight Sunday.

Tournament Administration

Tournament Directors

  • Carsten 'Storch' Kramer
  • Julian 'Jupe' Peters
  • Matthias 'HappY' Immenkemper
  • Antony 'TheRogue' Seedhouse

For the head admins of this ESL Major Series see #Head_Admins

Validity of the Rules

Should any of the rules in this rule book be void for any legal reasons in any specific country, the remainder of the rule book remains valid for that country.

Rule modifications

The ESL Major Series administration reserves the right to change or modify these rules, and in special cases make decisions not covered by these rules to preserve the spirit of fair competition and sportsmanship.

Non-disclosure of internal information

All texts written in either protest or support tickets or written by the ESL Major Series administration to members of the ESL Major Series cannot be published without the written permission of the ESL Major Series administration.

Code of conduct

All participants are asked to behave in an appropriate manner towards other competitors and to any member of the ESL Major Series administration. Exceptional cases of violation of this rule will be punished with all possible severity.

Additional agreements

The ESL Major Series administration is not responsible for additional agreements between players or teams and these agreements are only allowed if they do not violate any of the existing rules. The ESL Major Series administration advises against such agreements. The ESL Major Series administration will not enforce any additional agreements.

Contract conditions

The ESL Major Series administration will not interfere with and is not responsible for any legal issues between a player and his or her team.


It is not permitted to bet on matches of leagues, in which you are a participant. Violations of this rule are punished by one (1) Major Penalty for the team/the player. If a deliberate attempt to manipulate a match can be proven, the ESL can also bar the player(s) in question for a number of matches or have matches replayed. In extreme cases, the league administration reserves the right to remove a team/player from an ongoing season.


A protest can only be made using the protest form on the ESL page. Protests filed by email or IRC are not valid. At most, they can help explain the circumstances. Please see the protest procedure: http://www.esl.eu/eu/ems/faq/protest_rules/

If a participant wants to submit a protest concerning a specific match, the protest needs to be filed within 72 hours after the starting time of the match. Any protest filed after the deadline will be discarded.

Continuously filing protests for the sole purpose of getting an advantage out of filing protests will be treated as violation of fair play.

Barrage for dropping out from the ESL Major Series

Any participant who drops out of the current ESL Major Series cannot return later. This applies to any kind of drop out, no matter whether it is by his or her own decision or due to a disqualification e.g. because of too many penalties. The ESL Major Series administration reserves the right to bar a participant for more than one season in extreme cases.


Penalties are given for violations of the rules and fair play.

Any rule violation that does not directly interfere with the competition of the ESL Major Series and does not violate fair play will be punished with a minor penalty.

Any rule violation that directly affects the competition of the ESL Major Series or which is not in line with fair play will be punished with a major penalty, and a forfeit loss in relegation and playoffs.

A major penalty is worth 10 points, a minor penalty is worth 3 points. If a participant's major and minor penalties combined total 30 or more points, they will be removed from the ESL Major Series.

Penalties given within the ESL Major Series only apply for the ESL Major Series and not for the normal ESL leagues and ladders. The only exception to this are penalties given for cheating and severe violations of the code of conduct or fraud which will also be penalised in accordance with the normal ESL system.

Penalty points and barrages of the ESL do not apply to the ESL Major Series, except barrages for cheating.


Players forum

In team competitions, each team can appoint up to three (3) people who can represent their team in the players forum. In 1on1 competitions, only the players themselves and one orga from his or her team can have access to the players forum. If several players from an organization are in the same 1on1 competition then they must appoint a single orga for all.

The players forum is the only official communication platform between the players and the admin team.

All information within this forum is to be kept between the admin team and the participants of the players. Information or statements placed inside this forum by the admin team are not to be made public (news, public forums, etc.) and teams will be punished depending upon the kind of information and content they make available in the form of penalties or a direct disqualification from the competition.


One of the official means of communication on ESL is e-mail. ESL uses the e-mail addresses entered in the users’ profile to communicate with the users. All users are therefore asked to use a working e-mail address in their profile and to check the content of their mailbox daily if possible. ESL can not be held responsible for problems arising if e-mail does not arrive because the recipient did not keep his account up to date.


In addition to the players forum, to enable quick and easy communication there is usually a private IRC channel that we ask for all participants to join. If there is a channel, the details can be found in the players forum.

Game broadcasts

All broadcasting rights of ESL Major Series matches are owned by the Turtle Entertainment GmbH. This includes all forms of broadcasts, i.e. IRC Bots, shoutcast streams, video streams, HLTV, WaaaghTV, Replays, Demos or TV broadcasts. Turtle Entertainment GmbH can pass on the broadcasting rights for one or multiple matches to a third party or to the participants themselves. In this case the broadcast must be arranged with a head admin before the match. A participant cannot refuse to have their matches broadcast, nor can they choose in what way it will be broadcast.

ESL TV is a German television station that will be broadcasting, amongst other things, matches from the ESL Major Series.

Tournament direction

The ESL Major Series is organised by the Electronic Sports League (ESL). The Electronic Sports League is part of Turtle Entertainment GmbH.

Turtle Entertainment GmbH
Siegburger Str. 189
50679 Köln


Player and team accounts

All ESL Major Series players must comply to the following:

  • Have their full name entered and made public
  • Have a suitable photo uploaded
  • Have their necessary gameaccounts entered (see #Gameaccounts)

All ESL Major Series teams must comply to the following:

  • Have a suitable team name
  • Have a suitable team logo
  • Have a team account that is not active in any other ESL leagues, ladders or cups
  • Have no inactive/honorary members listed

Players or teams that do not comply to the above will be punished with 1 minor penalty each playweek.

Player country

A player's country (of residence) must be set to the country that they live in.

Team country

The first match a team plays in the ESL Major Series (either in a Qualifying Round or the Groupstage) determines the country a team based on a simple majority.

I.e. If 51% or more of players that played in a match live in a single country, the team's country is that country, otherwise the team's country is set to Europe for the season.

If in any future matches the team's country is no longer 51% or more from that country, then the team's country must be set to Europe for the rest of the season.


All players added to a team after 23:59 CET of the Sunday before the first playweek of the Groupstage begins are considered new players.

A player is only allowed to change their team once per competition stage (groupstage, playoffs). Should a player change their team in a competition stage, they are not allowed to play against their old team or against teams that they played against with their former team for the remainder of that competition stage.

For each new player in a team a support ticket must be made for the player to be approved by the head admins for that ESL Major Series. Before being approved new players must meet all the requirements for playing.

A new player must requested at least 24 hours before playing in a match, and approved before the match.


Any agreement to reschedule a match must be made by both participants on the ESL website, either in a protest ticket or match comments, otherwise the official match time is that stated on the match page.


The deadline for rescheduling a match is midnight Sunday of the preceding play week. Rescheduling after this deadline will result in a minor penalty.

If a participant wishes to reschedule a match they should do so by opening a match protest.


Participants have 2 wildcards to use in the groupstage.

A wildcard is used when within 48 hours of the scheduled match time a participant reports they cannot play. Usage of the wildcard will automatically lead to 1 minor penalty.

When a participant has already used up their wildcard then they will receive a total of 2 minor penalties.

Playoffs, Relegation

Playoffs and relegation matches cannot be wildcarded, or rescheduled past the deadline date without a serious reason and the permission of the admin team. One player being unavailable is not a valid reason.

No show

If a participant is not ready, in full, for the match 15 minutes after the scheduled start time they are a no show.


If the participant still has a wildcard, one major penalty will be given and a wildcard will be removed. If they do not have any wildcards remaining they will receive 1 major penalty and 1 minor penalty.

During the groupstage a no show does not result in a forfeit loss, all matches must be played.

Playoffs, Relegation

A no show in a non-groupstage match will result in a forfeit loss.

Tournament Structure


The groupstage will consist of 4 groups of 6 teams. Each team will play each other team in their group once, playing one match per week.

If at the end of the groupstage stage two or more teams are tied in the rankings by points then first the match result between them will be considered followed by the score difference. Should this still result in a draw, tie break matches will be played if needed to decide which teams will move on to the next stage.


The relegation will consist of the 2nd place and 3rd place teams from the groupstage put against each other in a round of knockout, the winners will go through to the playoffs.

The matches in the relegation will be A2 vs B3, A3 vs B2, C2 vs D3 and C3 vs D2.


The playoffs will be 8 team, double elimination. See this graphic for seeding


It is our aim to follow this schedule as best as possible.


  • Week 1: Monday 27th April - Sunday 3rd May **
  • Week 2: Monday 4h May - Sunday 10th May
  • Week 3: Monday 11st May - Sunday 17th May
  • Week 4: Monday 18th May - Sunday 24th May
  • Week 5: Monday 25th May - Sunday 31th May
    • Teams who attanding the Lan79 can postpone the match into the next Week!


  • Monday 1st June - Sunday 7th June


  • Winner Bracket Round 1. Monday 8th June - Wednesday 10th June
  • Winner Bracket Round 2. Monday 11st June - Sunday 14th June
  • Winner Bracket Finals. Monday 18th January - Sunday 21st February
  • Lower Bracket Round 1. Monday 11st June - Sunday 14th June
  • Lower Bracket Round 2. Monday 15th June - Sunday 17st June
  • Lower Bracket Round 3. Monday 18th June - Sunday 21st June
  • Lower Bracket Final. Monday 22nd June - Sunday 24th June
  • Grand Final. Monday 25th June - Sunday 30th June

Call of Duty 4 Specific Rules

Head Admins

Default match time

By default all matches are scheduled for Sunday 20 CET of the playweek. Matches may be rescheduled, see #Scheduling for details.


Players must enter their CoD4 PB GUID on their ESL profile before taking part in ESL Major Series matches.

Playing with a wrong or missing gameaccount at the time of a match will be punished with 1 minor penalty point.


Every player must use Aequitas for the entire duration of the match.

Aequitas Files

Each player must upload the Aequitas file (the ZIP created by Aequitas) without reminder, within 24 hours of the end of the match. The player and their team are responsible for the upload, meaning he or she has to check if the files are complete and working.

Missing, not working, incomplete or modified Aequitas files must be reported by the other team in a protest and will be punished with 1 major penalty for the team. A period of 48 hours will then be given to replace the files in question. Should the Aequitas files be replaced with the correct ones the penalty will then be reduced to 1 minor penalty. If the files of the winning team are still not complete after the period of 48 hours the match will be replayed.

Procedure for non-working Aequitas

If the website is offline then Aequitas will not work. This is the only situation where it is possible to play without Aequitas. It is responsibility of the player to ensure that Aequitas works for them and report it to the admin team as soon as possible.

Should Aequitas not work for a player, the player must take a screenshot of the error message and upload it befor he start the match. If you are not able to run Aequitas properly, you are not allowed to participate in an ESL EMS match. In case of problems without an errormessage you have to postpone the match (if necessary by filing a protest).

Match Media


The punishment for missing screenshots is no more than 1 minor penalty per match.

Score screenshot

Both teams are responsible for taking a screenshot showing the final score and uploading it to the match page.


Both teams are responsible for taking a pb_plist screenshot showing all players in the match. If a player reconnects or a player is changed, a new screenshot should be taken.

Client settings


CVAR values are forced by the GV Punkbuster configs.

To load this type in the console /rcon pb_sv_load ESL.cfg

Illegal script and binds

All scripts are illegal except for name-, demo, screenshot-, servercontrol-, waeponmenü-, say-, soundscripts. Forbidden examples: toggle com_maxfps 125 250, toggle snaps 20 30 ....

It dosnt matter in which config this scripts are. If scripts were reported via a conflict the team gets 2 minor penalty points for using Illegal scripts.

Graphics card drivers or other tools

All changes of models, crosshairs, HUD or other files are forbidden. Changes of the game graphic or textures with graphics card drivers or other tools of that kind are also forbidden. Programs allowing these changes are strictly forbidden, programs and config-settings allowing strong advantages are also strictly forbidden.

Changes to the game

All changes of models, crosshairs, HUD or other files are forbidden. Editing of the *.IWD files is strongly forbidden.

Server settings


All ESL Major Series matches must be played with Punkbuster enabled. Download the ESL Punkbuster config


All ESL Major Series matches must be played with the latest version of Promod (Promodlive including MG fix) and the match_mr12 match mode. Download here


Servers must be setup to stream to Games-Violations. Download the ESL Punkbuster config


Map pool

  • mp_citystreets
  • mp_backlot
  • mp_crash
  • mp_strike
  • mp_crossfire

Map choice (groupstage)

The map used for each playweek of the groupstage is fixed in advance by the ESL. The map to be played will be shown on the match page.

Map choice (relegation, playoffs)

To decide which map is played in a relegation or playoff match a veto system is used. Each team meets an admin in a spezific IRC Channel and make a coin flip, the winner start eleminate the first map until one is left

Match format


A groupstage match is one map, full 24 rounds, each team playing 12 rounds on both sides.

Playoffs and relegation

A playoffs or relegation match is best of 3 maps, first to 13 rounds each map. In the event of a tie, overtime will be MR3. The first map will given by the admins the other 2 maps is always losers choice.

In-game rules

Bug using

Using bugs is strictly forbidden. If bugs are used which are not explicitly mentioned in the rules, the admin can still decide to give out penalties.

Leaving server

Leaving the match before the match has been decided will be punished with 1 major penalty point and all remaining rounds being given to the opposing team.

Leaving a groupstage match before all 24 rounds have been played will be punished with 1 minor penalty point and all remaining rounds being given to the opposing team.

During the match

  • Moving through walls, floors and roofs is strictly forbidden. This also includes skywalking.
  • "silent bombs" (i.e. the planting of a bomb which doesn't make a sound ) are illegal.
  • Planting bombs so that they cannot be defused is illegal.
  • This does not include plants where multiple players are needed to defuse.
  • Boosting with the help of team mates is allowed in general, but it is forbidden in places were the textures, walls, ceilings, floors become transparent or penetrable. For more information read the map specific bugs section.
  • Flashbugs are forbidden.
  • Throwing grenades under walls is not allowed, throwing grenades over walls or roofs is allowed.
  • "Mapswimming" or "Floating" is illegal.
  • "Pixelwalking" is illegal (Sitting or standing on invisible map edges)

General: Using bugs which change the game principle (e.g. spawn bugs) is illegal.

Map specific bugs

Backlot: 1 , 1 , 3 , 4

Crash: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4

Crossfire: 1

Strike: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Missing bugs which give a team a strong advantage and are not listed here can also punished.

Crash procedures

If a player's computer crashes before the first kill has been made in the first round, the match will be restarted. If a player's computer crashes after the first kill has been made, the server will be paused at the end of the current round. Once the player has rejoined the server and the teams are notified of his or her return, the game will be resumed. It is the each player's responsibility to make sure their hardware/software/internet connection is fully functional before participating in a match. If they are in doubt, they should notify their team captain and appropriate actions should be taken.


If a player or a team violates one or more of the league rules, they will be punished according to the degree of the infringement. This penalty catalogue contains a list of offences with which penalties may be awarded to players and teams.

The administration will decide whether an offence has affected the outcome of the match to an extent that it can not be counted and must be repeated.

The administration reserves the right to give penalties not covered by this catalogue or give different penalties than the ones listed here.


As in daily life, a certain degree of courtesy should be maintained between players and teams of the ESL Major Series. Violations of this rule will be punished depending on the severity and frequency.


All insults occurring in connection with the ESL Pro Series will be punished. This primarily applies to insults during a match but also on the ESL website (forums, match comments, player guestbooks, support and protest tickets, etc.). Insults on IRC, IM programs, E-mail or other means of communication will be punished if they can be linked to the ESL Major Series and the evidence is clear.

Particularly severe abuse cases with extreme statements or the threat of physical violence can result in significantly heavier penalties including the exclusion of the player.

Depending on the nature and severity of the insult the penalty will be assigned to the player or to the team in team leagues. In team leagues players may also be barred from playing for one or more match weeks.


The excessive posting of senseless, harassing or offensive messages is regarded as spamming.

Spamming on the website (forums, match comments, player guestbooks, support and protest tickets, etc.) will be punished depending on the nature and severity.

Unsportsmanlike Behaviour

For an orderly and pleasant game it is essential that all players have a sportive and fair attitude. Breaches of this rule will be punished with (1) to (3) minor penalties. The most important and most common offences are listed below. However, the administration may assign penalties for not explicitly listed types of unsportsmanlike behaviour (e.g. harassment).

In-game Spam

Up to three (3) minor penalties may be awarded for the abuse of the game's chat functions if it's used for excessive spamming, in order to distract the opponents or to disrupt the game. These functions are solely meant for communication with the opponent and the match admin.

Kicking Players from the game server

Four (4) minor penalties will be awarded for kicking players from the game server. It is prohibited to kick players of the opposing team from the server during a match. The match admin present on the game server decides whether the kick affected the outcome of the match. A rematch may be set in grave cases.


The attempt to deceive the administration or other players using false or fictitious information, statements or data is punishable as follows:

Fake Results

Four (4) minor penalties are awarded for entering a fake result, for example: if the opponent leaves the server prematurely or refuses to play the match. If anything is unclear, e.g. the players cannot agree on a solution, a protest always has to be filed.

Fake Match media

Match media includes all records, such as e.g. Demos, screenshots, or logs, that are produced in the context of a match. The counterfeiting of Match Media is prohibited and will be punished depending on the seriousness with one (1) to four (4) minor penalties.

Serious Circumstances

If counterfeit match media is submitted and there is a suspicion of cheating the punishment is increased to six (6) minor penalties.

Miscellaneous Deceptions

Other attempts to deceive an admin or another player, depending on the severity, will be punished at the discretion of the administrators with one (1) to four (4) minor penalties.

Use of ineligible players

The use of an ineligible player is punished with one (1) major penalty.


One (1) major penalty point will be given if a player is found to be playing under the name of another player.


For cheating, players will be given twelve (12) regular penalty points and and the team six (6) Minor penalties. The use of 'hard' cheats (e.g. aimbot, wall hack, multihack), will be punished with a 2 year barrage.

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