Over the past few days, our organization has been listening to accounts of former players and staff about their dealings with NiP between 2013 and 2016. We wanted to take some time to provide a thoughtful response to this online discussion, as well as ensure we had the full context.
As the NiP leadership team, we feel strongly that to be the kind of organization we want to be moving forward, it’s critical that we learn and grow from past experiences. Equally, as a relatively new management team in NiP’s long history - only directly managing the org and players since 2016 - we have dedicated all of our time and energy to recovering the organization from its turbulent past and mismanagement. There’s a number of things that happened in NiP’s past before our time and direct oversight. In both instances, we aim to be open and accountable with our fans, and to put lingering issues from the past right - now and in the future.
With this in mind, there are a few background details to some of the issues raised in the past week that give some useful context when we look to the future.
NiP leadership and situation between 2013-2016. Prior to 2016, NiP and Diglife - the investment company brought on to help the management team financially at the time - operated separately with no day to day involvement from Diglife. Diglife pledged to help NiP when the leadership team (Robert Hjelmer, Emil Christensen and Per Lilliefelth) asked for support to help turn their financial situation around. NiP and Diglife shared no payment sources for players. Diglife had no involvement in player contract negotiations, and no knowledge of player demands or resignation letters. This may have not been clear to players at that time as the day to day management team created the perception that Diglife was the reason for all unpopular decisions made by the organization.
Actions of the new NiP management team from 2016 onwards. The current management team of NiP was set fully in place only in June 2016, when it became clear that more oversight was needed to ensure that the team was running smoothly and all commitments to players and partners would be fully honored and carried out. After this management shift, we focused on cleaning up any outstanding issues that were brought to our attention - including paying all players any due amounts, starting a full and thorough process with the Swedish tax authorities, and putting in place structures for each individual player to handle their financial earnings properly. We also began a full review of all legal documents, including a review with professional legal advisors of all player contracts, to improve the quality of operations. That was completed and implemented in all new contracts starting at the end of 2016.
PayPal account. The account used for the purpose of collecting funds for the Go4Balkan charity, was never created, accessed, or owned by anyone on the current management team of NiP.
NiP and Fifflaren. The organization parted ways with Robin ‘Fifflaren’ Johansson in 2014 and we have settled all outstanding financial obligations on September 20th 2016, after receiving his invoice 4 days earlier. Our current management team has worked with Robin during his time at Twitch, and has offered to welcome him back to the organization to work with the teams in 2017.
As an organization, it’s our goal that NiP isn’t just known as a legacy brand in esports but a team that treats everyone who works with us with respect and fair treatment. We’ll continue to talk openly and honestly with our players and fans about these, and any outstanding issues, but ask that anyone else that feels mistreated by the organization in the past give us a chance to address their concerns.
Hicham Chahine CEO, Ninjas in Pyjamas