The Ninjas In Pyjamas organisation has rejected the authority of the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association as it looked to intervene on behalf of players who believe the Swedish company owes them money.
The dispute, first reported by Dexerto, revolves around both former and current players believing they are owed money by the organisation for digital sticker sales from the canceled 2020 Rio Major capsule. The capsule sales are believed to have generated somewhere in the region of $300,000 per player but the NiP management believe that this time, as there was no physical event played, the organisation was entitled to keep the money.
A leaked group chat led by NiP COO Jonas ‘calc’ Gundersen saw him say the following:
“These were ‘Capsules’ created by the teams, and Ok’d by Valve, in order to survive the pandemic and keep paying salaries without any cuts, despite the complete lack of sponsorships and exposure. Therefore it’s not stickers as it would be normally – because there was no major. This was a desperation move for many teams because elseway something like half would have pulled out of CS:GO altogether.”
Sources familiar with the matter informed Dexerto that at least one of the affected players, Tim ‘nawwk’ Jonasson, was not satisfied with this interpretation and had investigated the possibility of pursuing the matter further. When the CSPPA became aware of this they volunteered to act on his behalf to try and resolve the financial dispute.
Sources with knowledge of the investigation, who requested anonymity due to their proximity to the involved parties, said that the CSPPA had contacted Valve and asked them to clarify their position on the intention behind the capsules. “They said it was just a blog post” the source explained “and that it was never intended to be a contract or legal document in any shape or form.”
In addition to that the CSPPA contacted each of the other Challenger and Legends teams from that capsule and asked if they had paid the players. Their findings confirmed the independent investigation of Dexerto. “The organisations that were Challenger or Legends from the canceled Road To Rio Major cycle got paid according to the CSPPA” the source added. “This applied even to teams like 100 Thieves who had disbanded in the meantime. No player outside of NiP has reported any disputes or perceived wrongdoing on behalf of their organisations.”
Armed with these findings the CSPPA contacted NiP management via email and explained that it was the belief of the CSPPA, having reviewed the contracts, the players were indeed entitled to the money. The CSPPA was told in no uncertain terms that they would not be listening to their recommendations.
“Their reply to the email said that the CSPPA does not govern NiP contracts in any way and that as far as they were concerned the case was closed” the source told us.
The CSPPA recently made more headlines about their involvement with financial disputes with a report published on French esports news website Vakarm. The outlet claimed that the player’s association was on course to sue now-defunct league Flashpoint for outstanding “guaranteed” money for players that competed across its two seasons. They say an estimated $11,000 per player is currently owed and they are now in the process of securing legal counsel as they look to pursue it for its members.
Unless the player’s association would be willing to leverage its membership to try and pressure NiP management into addressing the issue the next course of action would have to be legal but that will depend on the desires of the players. As some of the players theoretically owed money still represent the organisation they may be reluctant to become embroiled in legal action against their employers.
NIP so far have made no public statement on the issue and are unlikely to. The organisation, despite being one of the largest in Sweden, has had a long history of financial disputes and irregularities despite having made multiple changes to management. Should legal action be forthcoming it would be another stain on one of CS:GO’s historic names.