Esports

WESA independent investigation ‘clears’ NiP management

The compliance review into Ninjas in Pyjamas management has determined that the current organisation has done nothing but ‘their best to move NiP forward in a responsible and professional way‘, following comments made by former players and associated individuals.

In an announcement on 21st August, ‘a comprehensive and independent compliance review’ was ordered by WESA. It was to be conducted by Ian Smith, sports lawyer and Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), by the end of August 2019.

This swift action came after Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson spoke with prominent esports journalist Richard Lewis and gave details on his experiences as a Counter-Strike player with the Swedish organisation between 2012 and 2014.

Fifflaren seen with friberg, f0rest, HeatoN, GeT_RiGhT and Xizt at DreamHack Summer 2014
(Credit: Rikard Söderberg)

With Ian Smith only having six days to compile the report, the document was released to the public in full.

Early into the report, Richard Lewis is mentioned and Smith states he approached him twice but received no reply. This is despite the assertion that Lewis had documents that would be useful and important to the investigation.

I took the view that getting my report out as quickly as possible was more important than waiting to see if Richard wanted to engage.’

Ian Smith, Ninjas in Pyjamas Report

It was also mentioned that there were almost 20,000 emails, but Smith said ‘obviously I could not read them all, but I have looked at many of them and followed what I considered to be important threads.’

The depth of the investigation has left many wondering what could have been seen if more time was given and questioning the tight deadline’s purpose. This is combined with the issues surrounding the changes in management that has seen the NiP brand and org change hands over the last decade.

Credit: Rikard_Söderberg

With current NiP CEO Hicham Chahine on the WESA Executive Board, the conclusion deciding that he should remain on the board was also scrutinised by the community.

‘No-one involved on the NiP side or WESA has sought to influence what I have to say in this report and no-one has been given editorial access to it prior to me sending it to WESA.’

Ian Smith, Ninjas in Pyjamas Report

The report details various cases and incidents reported publicly and privately including external ‘advisors’, volunteers being mistreated, the charity Paypal controversy and accusations of other former players and figures from their teams including CS:GO, Dota 2 and PUBG.

NiP have seen changes in management over the years making investigating all incidents far from an easy task
(Credit: Rikard Söderberg)

The report states that no evidence was found to suggest players had not been paid, instead asserting that NiP paid full salaries, even for benched players, and allowed players to leave with transfer fees waived in some cases.

Most of the accusations are aimed at the former ‘corporate vehicle’ that ran NiP, with the report dismissing many of them and stating the current organisation bears no resemblance to old NiP under former management. Ian Smith further states in his conclusion that it is “ridiculous that justified criticism from 2013 to 2016 can simply be extended to NiP in 2019.”

Many have been unsatisfied with the contents of the review, questioning the impartiality, choice of language used, the use of Google Translate for documents and time frame for a full examination of multiple years of business being reduced to six full days.

Rather than settling the issues, the report seems to have restarted the fires that led to the need for a report in the first place.

The full document can be viewed online in PDF form here.

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