There were new developments in the controversy involving old and current NIP players and the stickers from the 2020 Rio Major capsules.
Just about two months ago, Dexterto’s Richard Lewis reported that the Swedish esports organization Ninjas in Pyjamas was in a dispute over stickers from the 2020 Rio Major capsules. If you don’t follow CS:GO closely, these stickers are sold in-game and the income they generate is used to supplement the prize pool of Valve-sponsored Majors. There are two types of stickers, team stickers and individual player stickers. While players get 100% of the individual stickers, they get around 85% of the team stickers.
In the case of the 2020 Rio Major, which was canceled due to COVID, the extra income for the players was estimated to be around $200,000 – $300,000 based on what other teams reportedly paid their players. However according to Lewis’ reporting back in May, NIP claimed they weren’t obligated to pay this money to their players as with the cancellation of the tournament there weren’t any player stickers but only team ones, and Valve mentioned in a blog post that the objective of the stickers was to help the teams financially in some tough times.
What's the situation now?
Back then it was reported that even though players like Fredrik ‘REZ’ Sterner, Hampus ‘hampus’ Poser and Nicolas ‘Plopski’ Gonzalez Zamora were impacted by NIP’s decision, the current players weren’t too happy to go public as they were still with the org. The driving force behind the investigation by WESA (World Esports Association) and (CSPPA) Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association was the former NIP member Tim ‘nawwk’ Jonasson.
In a new article by Richard Lewis, the reporter put forward that CSPPA reached out to multiple Challenger and Legends stage participants from the 2020 Rio Major and learned all their players received the payments they were owed for the stickers, with the exception of NIP.
CSPPA also talked to Valve about their blog post and their intention of how the money from this particular set of stickers was to be split among players and orgs. According to Lewis’ source, Valve said their blog post “was just a blog post and that it was never intended to be a contract or legal document in any shape or form.”
When CSPPA reached out to the org with this information and told them this money from the stickers should go to the players, according to their contracts, they did not get a positive answer. They were told, quoting Lewis, “…in no uncertain terms that [NIP] would not be listening to [CSPPA’s] recommendations.”
This is not the first time NIP was in a conflict with their ex-players over contractual or financial reasons. Despite the fact that CSPPA cannot force NIP to actually pay their players, as they are not a legal union, it should be considered that their public image keeps getting consistently hit. And maybe they should also consider that legal actions from players are always an option, whether they would like to use this option or not remains to be seen.