The CSPPA is acting as an agent, raising conflict-of-interest concerns

HLTV.org has obtained evidence showing that members of the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association (CSPPA) have been doing player representation, sparking outrage not just in Flashpoint but also among ESL Pro League teams.

The CSPPA has found itself at the center of controversy following an article by DBLTAP revealing passages of a June 29 letter sent by Flashpoint parent company B Site to the player association. In it, the LA-based company revealed that it was withholding payment of a previously agreed $165,000 fee relating to the license agreement for players’ intellectual property rights for the first edition of the league due to the CSPPA not honouring all of its obligations.

Among the allegations made in the letter is that the CSPPA has created a conflict of interest as members of its core leadership have been acting as agents, representing some players individually. This, B Site added, contributed to the deal between Heroic and FunPlus Phoenix falling through at the last minute after the players had made "new, severely above-market salary demands" which were "based on advice" from the CSPPA's leadership. On Twitter, the CSPPA promptly responded to the allegations and denied having breached any obligations towards Flashpoint. It also rejected the claim that it operated as an agency in the negotiations between the Heroic roster and FunPlus Phoenix, stressing that “providing advice regarding contracts and other legal matters is a core service of the CSPPA”.

However, HLTV.org has seen evidence that shows that senior CSPPA members were commissioned to represent the Danish players late in the negotiation process. Sources close to the transfer also spoke to HLTV.org anonymously stating that the CSPPA’s interference was one of the reasons why the deal fell through, along with Patrick "⁠es3tag⁠" Hansen suddenly deciding to join Astralis, a decision that left the team without one of its most prized assets. FunPlus Phoenix were forced to hastily pick a new team for Phase 2 of Flashpoint 1, settling for the Bad News Bears roster.

Complaints about the CSPPA being directly involved in negotiations as agents go beyond B Site, however. HLTV.org knows that the owners of several ESL Pro League partner teams have also become exasperated by what they see as a clear conflict of interest and demanded that the issue be resolved as a prerequisite for further cooperation with the CSPPA, the minutes of a recent meeting between senior ESL members and representatives of several organisations show.

One of those owners, Nicolas Maurer of Vitality, told HLTV.org that he believes that the CSPPA’s dual role of player association and agency “affects the possibility to get proper player representation" and can lead to “information being misused”.

"If someone presents themselves as a player union but is also acting as an agency, that is a conflict of interest and detrimental for everyone, the same way teams can’t have equity in the organizations they compete against,” Mr. Maurer added. “If the player body has a conflict of interest, we all have collectively an issue.

"We feel that player conditions need to be addressed with the players’ association. It's not about negotiating salaries but about player conditions and burnout, those are key topics for us. We want to make sure that, if we are to engage with a player union, it shouldn't have a conflict of interest."

Player representation by the CSPPA is done through the Danish Elite Athletes Association (DEF), which receives a percentage of salary and individual sponsorship agreements in return, information obtained shows. The CSPPA told HLTV.org that the DEF has not represented anyone except Astralis' members and coach Danny "⁠zonic⁠" Sørensen, but sources have said that players from a number of other teams have received transfer enquiries from CSPPA members, leaving organisation owners dumbfounded and enraged at the player association's meddling in transfer business.

The DEF, which according to its official website is "a non-governmental and fully independent association of athletes which safeguards the interests of all Danish elite athletes", was heavily involved in the creation of the CSPPA in June 2018 along with broadcast veteran Scott "⁠SirScoots⁠" Smith and a group of players with Astralis member Andreas "⁠Xyp9x⁠" Højsleth at the helm. As explained in a recent article by Richard Lewis for Dexerto, “a significant part of its [CSPPA’s] infrastructure and influence came from amalgamating with the DEF”. Ties between the CSPPA and the DEF, while not always clear, are undeniable: they are separate legal entities but share the same address and also part of the same core structure. Mads Øland is the CEO of the CSPPA and the director of the DEF, while Michael Døi is the COO of the CSPPA and remains a legal advisor to the DEF after leaving his position as COO of the athletes association in November 2019, according to his LinkedIn page.

In a statement provided to HLTV.org, the CSPPA reiterated that providing agency services "is in line with what many other players’ associations across the world provides for its members." Still, it remains to be seen how this issue, if not addressed, will affect the CSPPA's relationship with ESL and B Site, which host the two biggest leagues in Counter-Strike. The CSPPA is currently in discussions with Flashpoint over a three-year partnership and has reached several agreements with ESL/DreamHack this year, including a framework agreement for the ESL Pro Tour and an Event Minimum Standards.

You can find the complete statement from the CSPPA below:

Facts about DEF-sport and Astralis players

The Danish Elite Athletes Association (DEF-sport) is a Danish players’ association for elite athletes established in 2005. DEF-sport has along with the other Danish players’ associations in sports offered agency services for many years, including since 2017 to the Astralis players in CS:GO.

In 2017 (1 year before CSPPA was founded), DEF-Sport was contacted by the Astralis players, as they needed assistance with regards to their player contracts. Since 2017, DEF-sport has assisted the Astralis players with agency services in line with what DEF-sport offer for other Danish athletes in other sports and what the Danish unions in sport has provided for many years. Providing such agency services is in line with what many other players’ associations across the world provides for its members. DEF-sport is a non-profit and any funds received by DEF-sport on the basis of such agency services are used by the association (according to the decisions of the DEF-sport board of athletes) to provide membership benefits for all members. DEF-Sport currently does not represent any other professional CS:GO players than the Astralis players and the Astralis coach.

Facts about CSPPA and DEF-Sport

The CSPPA is an association set up in Denmark under Danish law to improve the working conditions of CS:GO players worldwide. CSPPA is a non-profit without owners and any profit in the association is solely used to provide membership benefits the CSPPA players as decided by the CSPPA board.

The management of CSPPA currently consists of Mads Øland (CEO) and Michael Døi (COO). Upon joining CSPPA in 2018 (when CSPPA was founded), Mads and Michael served as CEO and COO in DEF-sport. Mads and Michael have worked voluntarily for CSPPA (i.e. with no form of compensation) until 1 January 2020 which was the time on which they were employed by the CSPPA board. Mads and Michael receive no other compensation from CSPPA than their salaries.

During the negotiations between the CSPPA and ESL, DreamHack and EPL member teams regarding the ESL Pro Tour in fall 2019, CSPPA disclosed and explained Mads' and Michaels' involvement in DEF-Sport to ESL and the team representatives present during the negotiations.

Improving the working conditions of players in professional CS:GO is the core goal of the CSPPA. During the last year, the CSPPA has looked to improve working conditions of players by entering into framework agreements with tournament organizers including Flashpoint, ESL and DreamHack. These collective bargaining agreements include certain minimum standards with regards to contracts that teams are encouraged to follow. In addition, the CSPPA currently provides free general advice for members.

Facts about CSPPA's help to the Heroic players

In March 2020, shortly before the start of Flashpoint 1, FunPlus and Heroic were in talks about a transfer of all the Heroic players and the coach to FunPlus. This was reported publicly. Shortly ahead of Flashpoint 1 starting, the players were asked to fly to the United States in order to participate in Flashpoint 1 and were informed that a buyout between Heroic and FunPlus was imminent. At this time, the players had not been presented with individual contracts and were concerned about their situation. On the night before the players travelled to the United States, the Heroic players reached out to the CSPPA, as they felt pressure with respect to their individual contracts was in need of advice and asked for CSPPA to assist. The players were presented with long and complex player contracts which the organizations required to be completed within a very short time frame.

As the work associated with such contracts would require substantial assistance which is outside what the CSPPA can offer to individual players, a management setup with DEF-sport was discussed with those players who did not have existing agency representation. A draft agency agreement for such players was presented by DEF-sport to the players, but was never entered into or effected. CSPPA continued to help the players free of charge, as the players were in a tough and challenging situation. Neither the CSPPA nor DEF-sport have received any payments from the Heroic players in respect of the advice provided.

United States Scott 'SirScoots' Smith
Scott 'SirScoots' Smith
Age:
-
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.00
Maps played:
0
KPR:
0.00
DPR:
0.00
APR:
0.00
Denmark Patrick 'es3tag' Hansen
Patrick 'es3tag' Hansen
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1043
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
Denmark Danny 'zonic' Sørensen
Danny 'zonic' Sørensen
Age:
34
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.75
Maps played:
20
KPR:
0.49
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.11
Denmark Andreas 'Xyp9x' Højsleth
Andreas 'Xyp9x' Højsleth
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1675
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.17
The CSPPA can disband
2020-07-05 18:00
Rekt
2020-07-05 18:07
Why is this a problem? Me too dumbo to comprehend.
2020-07-05 18:16
Wanted to explain but look at #17. Its trash. As usual when money is involved.
2020-07-05 18:32
#54
 | 
Indonesia rareguy
I think that CSPPA became a problem when it's trying to barge in business discussion. This should be exclusively done between parties involved. e.g. some players want something done between them and the org, then asked CSPPA to help them get the legals out of the way. So CSPPA acted as that player's representation. If CSPPA is actually a dedicated agent, this would not be a concern. But this is an association where their main focus is general player's concerns, not any specific player/org over and over, and in this case, Danish orgs. I think. My barebone IQ didn't let me read it thoroughly. CMIIW.
2020-07-05 18:43
#41
 | 
United States Frotha
Not good
2020-07-05 18:33
I didn’t realise you were such a firebrand wtf
2020-07-05 18:57
tldr ?
2020-07-05 20:01
How he get #1 without editing
2020-07-08 22:25
Thorin>CSPPA
2020-07-05 18:01
#25
 | 
Korea day|dream
based
2020-07-05 18:15
+1
2020-07-05 19:55
#3
 | 
Canada cLutcheR7
ripizza
2020-07-05 18:00
#4
cry | 
Other xer01
🤔 hmmm i see 🤔 yeah right 🤔 sure it is 🤔 exactly 🤔 good point 🤔
2020-07-05 18:04
Yeah hmmmmm absolutely right yes please some of that sure
2020-07-05 18:01
someone asked?
2020-07-05 18:01
i did
2020-07-05 18:48
ok
2020-07-05 22:56
ok
2020-07-05 18:01
tldr?
2020-07-05 18:01
csppa pretend to be acting in best interest of all csgo players. in reality they are also negotiating salaries on behalf of some players, but not others. clearly this is not fair, and team owners are mad.
2020-07-05 18:07
Thanks
2020-07-05 18:18
ty men
2020-07-05 18:26
Joke of an organisation. It's like a circle of buddies from the top teams. They don't care about representing the smaller teams that need them the most.
2020-07-05 18:36
Team owners of course are going to be butthurt if a union wants to regulate salaries, doesn't make it a conflict of interest though. Salaries , just like "players conditions and burnout", are both topics which are in the interest of players, and well within the domain of what a union does. The only person calling this a conflict of interest (appart from dumbasses on HLTV parroting it) is the Vitality owner.
2020-07-05 19:50
+1
2020-07-05 19:59
+1
2020-07-05 21:12
+1 although I think xyp9x specifically being involved with the heroic deal is a conflict of interest, idk if he was or not.
2020-07-06 03:31
#9
 | 
Europe BIG_BIGFAN
tldr?
2020-07-05 18:01
csppa pretend to be acting in best interest of all csgo players. in reality they are also negotiating salaries on behalf of some players, but not others. clearly this is not fair, and team owners are mad.
2020-07-06 01:28
Can't all pro players ask them about salaries?
2020-07-06 03:32
All members can ask for contractual advice.
2020-07-06 18:34
#10
 | 
Sweden Lingon
The CSPPA is a joke
2020-07-05 18:02
The idea is good and their core agenda also needed in this fastly developing business as the players should have some form of representation. Problem is the non-existent transparency which promotes shady business naturally.
2020-07-05 18:13
So they try to act as middleman or something?
2020-07-05 18:02
sounds like someone is not getting the piece of the pie they think they deserve
2020-07-05 18:02
Scary
2020-07-05 18:04
ok
2020-07-05 18:05
#15
 | 
Denmark nrth_LUL
Honestly the csppa is useless in its current state.
2020-07-05 18:05
+1
2020-07-05 18:37
#16
 | 
Kazakhstan bjornzz
Ok
2020-07-05 18:06
#18
bottle | 
Taiwan Azes
all this just because Flashpoint is unable to pay the fee lmao
2020-07-05 18:07
why should they? This whole org is a joke
2020-07-05 18:37
+1
2020-07-05 18:48
nice
2020-07-05 18:10
I dont feel any merit that csppa give to the scene. In fact, they causing more conflict than anything. Its better for them to just disband.
2020-07-05 18:10
I don't get what vitalitys coach is saying. How is being an agency and a union a conflict of interest? Both are entities supposed to forward the interests of players, right?
2020-07-05 19:43
nt Xyp9x
2020-07-05 19:58
mb read the whole thread instead of posting bad bait
2020-07-05 19:59
"ties between CSPPA and the DEF, while not always clear, are undeniable: they are separate legal entities but share the same address and also part of the same core structure" You guys know how to setup conflict of interest.
2020-07-05 20:13
gj now read the rest of the text and tell me where the conflict of interest is
2020-07-05 20:18
"setup"
2020-07-05 20:19
#108
 | 
Finland 0lter
The union is working as an agency and union Thats like someone asking you for advice on what shirt to buy and then you recommend your own shirt brand. "Prohibition of Conflicts of Interest - A union officer or employee may not (1) have any monetary or personal interest or (2) engage in any business or financial transaction that would conflict with his or her fiduciary obligation to the union" -UOL dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/CSRAFactShe..
2020-07-05 21:25
where is the monetary or personal interest? the CSPAA stated that they received no payment from the Heroic players for their advice. where is the business or financial transaction? they only gave some advice to the players Heroic. Reading the article, the only coherent thing in it is the CSPAAs statement regarding what they did for the Heroic players. Or do you think it is out of place for a union to talk about contracts with their members?
2020-07-06 12:40
"Player representation by the CSPPA is done through the Danish Elite Athletes Association (DEF), which receives a percentage of salary and individual sponsorship agreements in return, information obtained shows." The higher player salaries are, the more money the CSPPA gets. There's your monetary interest.
2020-07-06 17:53
Get rekt kiddo
2020-07-06 11:54
OMG THIS IS HUGE!!!!!!!!!!
2020-07-05 18:10
Disband time EZ Clap
2020-07-05 18:13
and now everyone will lick thorin's ass cuz he was right again :) people will never learn that some people know more in the background than the community will ever know
2020-07-05 18:21
some do no know than the community, but thorin for sure isnt one of them, narcissistic poser, everyone who is around since the beginning knows at least as much as he does or more, easily :)
2020-07-05 19:43
easy! like doing 1489 youtube videos for the community
2020-07-05 20:10
knowledge =/ videos
2020-07-05 20:54
He is hard working that often means more. Maybe you have deeper knowledge but then u wasted it at least until now.
2020-07-05 21:10
how wasted? claiming publicly to be some sort of knowledge king like thorin is just laughable. not everyone needs to hunt for fame in order to prove his knowledge or experience. his is nothing to write home about, i could respect his opinion and above average knowledge if it wasnt for his toxic behaviour towards single individuals and playing favours as a normally objective moderator/commentator who should be neutral.
2020-07-05 21:21
I am happy that not yet every person in the spotlight is some vanilla chill.
2020-07-05 21:27
#29
 | 
Sweden godname
whata hell
2020-07-05 18:22
#30
 | 
Russia SW@G
Expected
2020-07-05 18:22
#107
 | 
Russia SW@G
+1
2020-07-05 21:19
anything that represents the "collective" = corruption to the core
2020-07-05 18:23
#32
 | 
United States clockworkk
just what does CSPPA bring to CS? literally nothing they're just getting money lol
2020-07-05 18:23
if cs wants to stay a joke in the businessworld, the csppa can of course continue with their biases :)
2020-07-05 18:25
Yes, we all know all decent sports have no player union.. Sounds like TOs and team owners dont like the players getting organized because it will be more expensive for them more than anything else.
2020-07-06 18:57
who cars
2020-07-05 18:26
#36
 | 
Mongolia Kkura
Does CSPPA actually help the CS Scene?
2020-07-05 18:27
no
2020-07-05 18:38
#50
 | 
Mongolia Kkura
Expected from Paycheck stealers
2020-07-05 18:39
> owners and organizations complain about union > players haven't said anything oh yeah, the union sure is not helping
2020-07-05 19:53
#113
 | 
Finland Palomies
So action should be taken only when the injustice is so huge even those who it benefits complain? Retarded.
2020-07-05 22:07
Whats the injustice here?
2020-07-06 18:57
#56
 | 
Ireland YungWilla
They seem to be pretty much a union so I’d say yeah they do but doesn’t seem like like they have all players (outside of Denmark anyway) interest at heart but you can choose to join so
2020-07-05 18:45
so they were the reason Heroic got screwed with the FPX deal, nice.
2020-07-05 18:29
Did anybody actually read all of it?
2020-07-05 18:31
Yes. Wtf is that question. Why wouldnt we read it?
2020-07-05 18:34
#57
 | 
World Beard43
+1 interesting read
2020-07-05 18:45
#42
 | 
Ireland YungWilla
The CSPPA is pretty much a union which I’m not against but only really benefiting Astralis players is pretty fucking sketchy. If you don’t know Unions interfere with contracts all the time it’s normal. The issue must be the CSPPA being a union but not calling itself a union
2020-07-05 18:33
#55
 | 
World Beard43
Yeah it sounds like they're a union for Danish players who claim to not be a union and to be for everyone. I don't really see what the issue is with player representation, except that it's definitely not right that they're only doing it for Danish players.
2020-07-05 18:43
#62
 | 
Ireland YungWilla
Imo CS does need something like a union for players but the CSPPA is kinda ruining the whole concept of it on a global scale. Pretty weird how people aren’t able to figure out the similarities :P
2020-07-05 18:52
#105
 | 
Finland 0lter
yup csppa is like a placeholder for the real player union but now that a "player union" exists you cant make a better one
2020-07-05 21:16
hey are not even letting every member vote, like davey.
2020-07-05 20:05
Did you read.. The help Astralis players got with their contracts was pre-CSPPA. Heroic players reached out to seek help in regards to their contracts. Im sure other players could do that too.
2020-07-06 19:00
Disband incoming ig
2020-07-05 18:34
CSPPA is a joke that does literally nothing beneficial for the players and TOs.
2020-07-05 18:36
interesting
2020-07-05 18:41
Expected TwoFaced Toledos
2020-07-05 18:46
10 Paragraphs shit on CSPPA for having done "agenting" for heroic players and giving them the blame. Last paragraph states facts and says completly different: Heroic and FPP wanted to fuck over the players who desperatly for help asked CSPPA who helped with a bit of legal help and directed them to a proper Agency (which the CSPPA has ties to). Come on, if you do a frame job HLTV, at least do it right. Heroics, FPP and FP wanted to completly fuck over the Heroic players bying sending them in the states for FPP without a contract or payment info and you call the intervention of the CSPPA problematic and unethical? Dafuq is this.
2020-07-05 18:47
+1
2020-07-05 19:10
and then everybody in the comment field is shitting on the CSPAA because thats what the title of the post told them to do. is there something I'm missing, or are people really just too lazy to read the article and think about it?
2020-07-05 19:54
No - you're not missing anything, ppl are lazy f*cks or just outright too stupid to understand a text
2020-07-05 20:02
This. Incredible that it took this long to find someone who actually reads. The comment section is obviously saturated with teenagers who doesn't understand the mechanics of a union. While I dispise Mads Øland's ethics and methods as a (CBA) negotiator, a true tumor to be removed from existence, what HLTV is currently doing is borderline perjury.
2020-07-06 18:49
+1
2020-07-06 19:01
#136
 | 
Europe Rawrcakes
On top of all this, HLTV is not a medium to bring such news, and if you do, at least take the time write a proper article. This wall of text will never be read by the majority of the hltv demographic, instead it just fuels hate and causes internal conflicts. Can't we at least be honorable enough to settle differences without having to throw mud on HLTV.
2020-07-09 14:37
tldr: Sir Scoots fucking over Heroic deal for $$$
2020-07-05 18:58
tldr pls
2020-07-05 19:00
this is fucking ridiculous
2020-07-05 19:02
This is pure slander towards the CSPPA - have they gotten to influencial in the cs scene?
2020-07-05 19:03
Obviously certain team owners like Nicolas Maurer who fucked over Alex and lets a badly injured player play under heavy painkillers an entire event want to get rid of the CSPPA who might stop them doing shady shit and fucking over players.
2020-07-05 19:12
+1 Well, they fight for control over the players - and the only ones on the players side is actually CSPPA. Everyone else just wants to use the players, as hard and cheaply as possible
2020-07-05 19:20
#68
 | 
Switzerland Sylleo
another dodgy danish business ? oh noes
2020-07-05 19:08
ironic coming from a swiss lmfao
2020-07-05 19:25
I think CSSPA is really needed but the current version is an abomination. You know, it's possible to do things right, not go through motions and end up as IOC/FIFA levels of corruption / Nonexistent segregation of duties. As a CPA I've seen these kinds of things too many times in corporate world, but it really doesn't have to go that way yet again.
2020-07-05 19:17
Could you elaborate on the "abomination"? Me fuming: member for 10+ years on HLTV, but for some reason I'm not allowed to write two comments within 5 minutes of each other....
2020-07-06 18:55
#72
 | 
Georgia Megobari
CSPPA is a joke
2020-07-05 19:19
Read the whole f*cking thing instead of just headlines
2020-07-05 19:20
CSPPA is still a joke
2020-07-05 19:53
I have no problem guys.
2020-07-05 19:23
#77
 | 
United Kingdom FEodAL
what a joke csppa is
2020-07-05 19:29
The last two paragraphs completely contradicts the title lmfao Seems like Miraa the author of this doesn't understand the first thing about a player union: twitter.com/_erome/status/12798172705592..
2020-07-05 19:33
+1 - Thanks for link - and I hate when ppl comment and only read the headlines hence all the stupid comments here
2020-07-06 08:44
another danish shit reveal.
2020-07-05 19:45
Fucking PLEASE disband the CSPAA. They have been a negative influence on the scene. Silent on any major issue and only looking to further themselves, ESPECIALLY Astralis Astralis had the best run in CSGO of all time, but they are now without even a SHADOW of a doubt the shadiest team in the scene
2020-07-05 20:38
#106
 | 
Finland 0lter
+1 what have they changed? Only simping for TOs thats all
2020-07-05 21:18
#104
 | 
Finland 0lter
Disband CSPPA Rats Has nothing to do with this article even
2020-07-05 21:18
It's great that something like CSPPA was created, we need something like this.
2020-07-05 22:01
astralis at the center of every shit storm
2020-07-05 22:41
Astralis got nothing to do with this sure xyp was Co creator but he likely did not have Any Thing to do with the contract dealings with heroic as he himself get council from DEF...
2020-07-06 10:49
expected from mads øland real scumbag
2020-07-05 22:45
#118
kNgV- | 
Brazil sAA_
tldr
2020-07-06 01:29
Read the last paragraph you lazy people ty
2020-07-06 02:58
oh now wont somebody think of the poor poor org owners who only made millions from matchfixing, the gall of those players asking for wages, they should be grateful to the almight bus owners who will give them crumbs
2020-07-08 11:33
typical blastralizzz
2020-07-12 10:17
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