CS:GO

CSPPA "disappointed" with ESL over Pro League invite dispute

by Andrew Amos
ESL / CSPPA

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The Counter-Strike Professional Players Association (CSPPA) has issued a statement expressing their disappointment over a lack of communication about ESL Pro League changes, stating they “will do everything in their power” to push for more “inclusivity.”

Tournament organizer (TO) ESL has been pushed into the spotlight over the last week after their ESL Pro League team announcement on January 24.

The planned 48-team league was cut down to 24, with teams who had qualified expecting to receive a slot being told they would be relegated back into the second-tier Mountain Dew League.

Players and pundits alike were awaiting a statement from the CSPPA, in response, with the player’s union finally sharing their thoughts on January 27, hours before ESL issued their own apology.

CSPPA
The CSPPA is made up of some of Counter-Strike's most respected pro players.

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In a statement, the CSPPA board, which features Astralis’ Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth, mousesports’ Chris ‘chrisJ’ de Jong, and Team Liquid’s Jonathan ‘EliGE’ Jablonowski, mentioned that ESL’s handling of the situation went directly against the union’s mission.

“CSPPA pursues collective agreements with TOs who consider the pro players an equal negotiation partner and who are willing to negotiate real rights and influence for players with respect to its leagues,” they said.

While they try to bargain for the best possible conditions, the union admitted they don’t wager enough influence to change business decisions from within TOs.

“However, there are business decisions and commercial aspects of such leagues which the CSPPA can’t dictate,” they said. “This included the number of participants in a TO’s league, the composition of teams, the way in which the TO enters teams into its league, and the way in which the TO handles communication in this respect.”

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Regardless, the CSPPA, who has registered over 100 player-members since starting up in 2018, expressed their disappointment with ESL’s handling of the shrinking of Pro League.

“We are disappointed with the way ESL has handled their communication of the EPL changes,” they said. “We have been working hard to keep the leagues and tournaments as open as possible, and...will continue to do our utmost to ensure that the affected players will have the best possible opportunities to qualify for EPL and other leagues.

“The CSPPA will do everything in its power — now and in the future — to push for such leagues to be as open and inclusive as possible to allow for CSPPA members from all tiers and regions to participate.”

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The union also pledged that they weren’t just bargaining for the players, but also the entire CSGO community, and asked fans to be patient as they build a better future for the game’s professional scene.

“[We] ask the community to trust that we do work tirelessly to improve the working conditions of professional players within the commercial realities of the current CS:GO ecosystem in a fair and balanced manner which will elevate professional CS:GO for all stakeholders involved, including fans.”

The CSPPA statement came just hours before ESL issued their own apology, with Senior Vice President Ulrich Schulze stating the TO “got it wrong by not letting affected teams know further in advance that significant changes were coming.”

The ESL Pro League is one of three franchised CS:GO leagues starting in 2020. FACEIT and BLAST have launched competitors in the B Site League and BLAST Premier respectively, with the latter expected to kick off on January 31 in London.