Windigo receives WESG 2018 prize money after a year of waiting

Olivia R. May 2, 2020

After a year of back and forth, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team Windigo has finally received its prize from the WESG 2018 Finals

Windigo's founder and owner, Artur Yermolayev, told HLTV that the team's share of the $500,000 prize pool had been wired to the players. He also told the CSGO site that he was happy the matter had finally been settled. 

This is a long-time coming for Windigo, who was acually forced into shutting down due to a lack of cash flow related to various tournament organizers not giving them their prize money. This didn't only include their share of WESG's $500,000 prize pool, but $40,000 from MocheXL, $6,000 from ESL Pro League Season 9, and another $6,000 from Season 10. 

According to a Reddit post from Windigo co-owner Maksym Bednarskyi, they had been waiting for the money from WESG for 229 days by the time they decided to shut down the organization. The deadline for the WESG transfer was October 8, but they didn't get a reply about the sitaution. 

"[The organizations that played in WESG] should gather to solve this problem together because players shouldn't suffer because of such things," Bednarskyi said. 

The Chinese organizer left a comment on the Reddit post, discussing their side of the situation. Apparently, their team had been working "tirelessly" to pay out the prize money to all 166 winners of the Grand Final. They admitted it's a challenge to complete foreign transactions due to Chinese banks' strict requirements. At the time, they had eight unresolved payments of the 166, which they claimed they were "prioritizing, to make sure the prize money gets in the hands of these players." 

"Contrary to Maksym's claim, we have been in contact with Windigo via email and specifically in the last 30 days on October 8, 16, 25, and 28. Screencaps of email exchanges can be provided if requested by Windigo. We have tried sending payments to Windigo several times but have been unsuccessful due to one main reason: Windigo's banking information, tax filing information, and company registration are from three seperate countries. Combined with the fact that we're trying to wire a large amount of half a million USD, this has raised red flags on the bank and government level. We will do all we can to work with Windigo to resolve this issue," they wrote. 

Bednarskyi demanded they set up a transfer deadline publicly. 

"I had to cease operations so you started to do something. GJ," he wrote to WESG. 

The players who will finally be receiving their share of the $500,000 have all taken different paths within CSGO esports. Star players Valentin "poizon" Vasilev and Georgi "SHiPZ" Grigorov went to Complexity Gaming and CR4ZY, a squad that was later sold to c0ntact. SMASH signed Kamen "bubble" Kostadinov and BLUEJAYS signed Yanko "blocker" Panov. Viktor "v1c7oR" Dyankov is a free agent, but has been competing online. 
 
While the CSGO community has been consistently sympathetic for the players who had to wait so long for their prize money, it's been a different story for Windigo. Many CSGO fans pointed out that the organization had attempted to sell their team and coaches on Reddit a year ago. The post was called "Bulgarian Squad for Sale," and asked interested organizations to contact them if they were "interested in buying out a team with slots to WESG, ESL Pro League, and UML."