Ninjas in Pyjamas has some explaining to do.
In a lengthy interview with Richard Lewis, former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson opened up on issues within the organization from 2013 to 2015.
Much of it focused on known controversies from NiP’s history, including the organization withholding winnings from its CSGO team to the infamous Go4Balkan charity tournament. Along the way, a number of other surprising revelations were made ranging from wildly unfair contract terms to NiP ownership demanding players produce written requests to have a girlfriend while under contract with the team.
Fifflaren was a key member of Ninjas in Pyjamas’ rise in the early days of CSGO. Joining the organization’s original CSGO roster, he helped build NiP into one of the juggernauts of the game’s early years by reaching the grand finals of the first three major tournaments. Following a string of results that fell below expectations, the organization opted to remove Fifflaren from the roster ahead of the DreamHack Winter Major to replace him with Major Mikail “Maikelele” Bill.
Ninjas in Pyjamas is one of the most identifiable and popular brands in esports. Founded in 2000, it is an enduring name in the industry and fields high-level teams in a number of titles including CSGO, Dota 2, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Those 19 years have not been without controversy, however.
In 2015, members of the former NiP ownership group found themselves in legal trouble over the financial handling of their players. Later that year, the organization ousted its CEO following reports that it owed its CSGO roster a significant sum of cash.
Fifflaren corroborated most of those reports and discussed how he had only made $35,000 during NiP’s exceptional 2013 run, with the organization pocketing money from prize pool winnings, sponsorship deals, and even the money from sold in-game stickers.
The only incident Fifflaren took umbrage with at the time was the Go4Balkan event.
In 2014, Faruk “pita” Pita arranged a charity tournament for people displaced by a series of storms that ravaged Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. The event featured players from a number of top European CSGO teams and garnered more than 22,000 euros worth of donations from fans. The money never actually went to charity, and the CSGO community unloaded on pita with many believing he had defrauded fans.
Though Fifflaren acknowledged that the incident looked bad, he firmly defended Pita and suggested that the money was likely pocketed by one of NiP’s owners.
NiP in 2019 is very different from the organization it was when Fifflaren was there in 2012, but there was no love lost between him and those currently involved with running the team.
Towards the end of the interview, Fifflaren blasted NiP for its recent handling of his former teammate, Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund. The organization seems to be forcing its longtime captain into retirement, a fact that doesn’t sit well with either player. That sparked a heartfelt plea from the retired player to bet on himself and move on from a company that has repeatedly wronged him.
“You don’t owe NiP anything, GeT_RiGhT. You don’t owe them anything. If anything, they owe you everything,” Fifflaren said. “Don’t think for a second that you can’t go somewhere and start over…You’re one of the most accomplished players that we have. Don’t forget that.”