Counter-Strike pros form the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association

Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth and Astralis came in as favorites to lift the ESL Pro League Season 8 trophy. Helena Kristiansson/ESL

About 90 top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players announced the formation of the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association (CSPPA) on Friday, formalizing unofficial groups that have previously existed over the past few years.

The association has elected seven players from around the globe to serve on its board. Those players include Astralis' Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth, Team Liquid's Epitácio "TACO" de Melo and Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, Cloud9's Tarik "tarik" Celik, mousesports' Chris "chrisJ" de Jong, and Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert and Nathan "NBK" Schmitt, formerly of Cloud9 and G2 Esports respectively.

The daily operations will be ran by legal advisor Michael Døi and CEO Mads Øland, who worked with players like Xyp9x to form the Danish Elite Athletes Association, an union for Danish athletes. The CSPPA was formed in collaboration between Danish Elite Athletes Association and long-time esports professional Scott "SirScoots" Smith.

In an interview with HLTV, Døi said that the CSPPA's main goal is to assist players with legal advice and in negotiating and signing contracts with teams and organizations. The organization hopes to become a collective bargaining arm for these players as well.

"As any other players' association, we will work to secure the best possible working conditions for players in CS:GO, while of course taking into account the special nature of the industry," Døi told HLTV. "In any sport, it makes sense that players can influence their employment conditions. There is certainly a huge difference in how CS:GO contracts are structured, and there will definitely be players that could benefit from guidance when signing them."

The association is open for any player who is contracted or seeking a contract to compete at an elite level of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Counter-Strike is often regarded as the second most popular title in professional esports, behind League of Legends and on par with Dota 2.

Smith, a former co-owner of esports news site GotFrag and Evil Geniuses,, and later a managerial employee of MLG, has helped a number of professional Counter-Strike in the past few years. In late 2016, Smith served as an intermediary on behalf of players whose teams participated in the Professional Esports Association (PEA). At that time, those organizations attempted to remove their teams from ESL Pro League, which struck a nerve with their players - and caused public tension between those parties.

Talks of unions and players associations have been esports industry fodder over the past few years, although players often have not taken action to establish them. In League of Legends, the game's developer Riot Games funds the North American League Championship Series Players' Association -- which has met criticism as a result.

However, a certain set of players across top esports titles, particularly in Counter-Strike, have gained an appetite for exercising their rights. Esports talent agencies like Evolved Talent Agency and Press X, who sold to giant United Talent Agency on Wednesday, have been formed by lawyers and independent agents in the past year.