Olivia R. August 21, 2019
The World Esports Association is conducting an independent investigation into Ninjas in Pyjamas after players and staff members released statements against the organization.
Sports lawyer Ian Smith, a commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition, will be conducting the investigation and by the end of the month he will release a statement that discusses his findings.
NiP players reveal unfair treatment
On July 24, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson opened up about his time spent on the NiP roster. From 2013 to 2015, NiP not only withheld prize money from charity tournaments, but also required players to sign contracts if they wanted to have girlfriends while a part of the team.
Following the interview, other players came forward. This included former NiP players Richard "Xizt" Landstrom, Adam "friberg" Friberg, and Mikail "Maikelele" Bill.
NiP promises changes, but players don't see it
The Swedish organization fired then-CEO Per Lilliefelth after accusations of unpaid players came to light around 2016. It had been revealed that NiP had not paid their players thousands of dollars they'd earned through tournaments and in-game sticker sales.
Ninjas in Pyjamas issued a statement after firing Lilliefelth, stating that it was "time to bring in new people with more suitable properties and experience to lead Ninjas in the future."
But it doesn't appear that it ended up being the case. Current CEO Hicham Chahine told the press that the money owed to Fifflaren had been settled in the fall of 2016, and that the new management have been putting "lingering ussues from the past right" since the summer of that same year.
In response, Fifflaren revealed messages he'd received from Chahine in 2016 in which the CEO had ignored him when he reached out for help.
Earlier this month, Fifflaren called out former NiP CEO Emil "HeatoN" Christensen in a revealing Twitter rant.
"We thought you were different. But you are just the same," Fifflaren said. "The only difference is that you were dumb enough not to try and cover your tracks. You lied in court and said you didn't have access to the bank accounts but you did. You used our money for your own gain and made millions when the people that were working their asses off got nothing."
He went on to accuse HeatoN of using the team's prize money to pay for a lawyer, and also hiring his then-girlfriend for $20,000 a year, while the roster was "scrambling."
"We counted on you. We re-signed with NiP because of you.. For what? For you to make millions. 'Hall of Famer,' what a joke," Fifflaren continued.
In response, HeatoN called the accusations "untrue," and NiP claimed to have "resolved" nine out of the 10 cases that dated back to 2014.
"We welcome your outreach and want to engage in a productive dialogue to resolve any outstanding issues. We want to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to former players, employees and volunteers who have felt mistreated, and will be developing better internal processes and work methodology going forward for a better NIP," NiP said in a statement.
They added that they "welcome" the WESA investigation, and will work with them by providing access to records, documents, and individuals.