While eight teams are still battling to win the first CS:GO Major of the year in Katowice this week, the second major of the year has already been confirmed and is set to begin in late August in Berlin. The scheduling of the ongoing major in Katowice came under scrutiny last year because it meant, for many of the top teams, this would be their first event back following the player break over the holiday period. The major in Berlin, which was awarded to Starladder, will also immediately follow a player break. Valve has seemingly turned a blind eye to the criticism of how they schedule the two biggest tournaments of the year.
According to a statement on Twitter from the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association, Valve met with the organization at the FaceIt Major in London in 2018 and heard their concerns on when the majors were scheduled, but scheduled them after another player break regardless:
"The CSPPA is as disappointed as the CS players are to hear that the dates of the next CS Major fall right after the player break. In our meeting with Valve at the Major in London, we made it clear the players feel the Major should always be held mid season or end of season. Most certainly not at the start. When we heard the finalized Berlin dates, we reached out to Valve about the issue, but have received no reply as of yet. Valve must take control of the yearly calendar, they cannot keep trying to squeeze a Major into an already full year."
I reached out for a clarification on the statement and to get some insight into how the CSPPA hope to handle the issue of scheduling in the future. Below is a short interview with the CEO of CSPPA, Mads Øland.
Has Valve been responsive to the issues in scheduling brought up by the CSPPA?
It is unfortunate that Valve has not listened to the concerns of the CSPPA regarding the scheduling for the CS:GO major in Berlin in 2019. However, we are pleased that Valve have now informed us, that they would like to start discussions with the CSPPA regarding the scheduling of majors for 2020.
As far as the scheduling goes for the major tournaments, are the tournament organizers the majors are awarded to receptive to feedback or concerns from CSPPA?
Regarding the major in Berlin, we have not been contacted by the tournament organizer with regards to the schedule. We have shared our thoughts with Valve directly.
Does the CSPPA have any plans to push for or submit an ideal schedule they would like see implemented in the future for pro Counter-Strike?
The CSPPA intends to work closely with stakeholders in the industry to improve the schedule in any way we can. We definitely have some thoughts about how an ideal schedule would look like.
The scheduling issue is clearly a big concern to players. Instead of trying to fit two majors into the middle of a already packed yearly schedule, Valve should be working with tournament organizers and players associations directly to set a yearly calendar that works for everyone. Unfortunately for the fans and players, that would require Valve to do more than the bare minimum to add a structure for professional Counter-Strike. I won't hold my breath.