20Four fails to pay former staffers

Sports website 20Four has no money and cannot afford to pay former staffers’ leave balances, invoices and redundancy costs, Mumbrella understands.

Despite employees leaving the business in September, it is understood the company is still operating, waiting on items such as rental bonds and the sale of IP to repay staff.

20Four shut up shop in September, according to those close to the business

Mumbrella understands full-time staff were paid their salary until the last day of employment, but others payments have not been received despite directors Adrian Gleeson and Anthony McConville, and silent investor Chris Wilson, promising staff for months that this money would come in.

Wilson, an investor who was not part of active management but who handles all payments, insisted in an email all wages owed to staff had been paid, adding the directors were in the process of finalising accrued annual leave. However, Mumbrella has seen messages from Wilson telling staff who were owed entitlements the company has “no money”.

The company is not formally in administration which means that staff are unable receive the money owed from the government, under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme, which runs to make good shortfalls when staff are the victims of company failures.

As of last Friday, Wilson had not responded to a number of employees for weeks.

The revelations come a week after Mumbrella said the future of 20Four was in doubt. Questions about the sports platform’s future were centred around a note made to the ASX in September by stakeholder Chapmans Limited, which said the business had not met financial expectations.

CEO Chris Haigh and consultant
Ben Buckley had already left the business when the note was sent out, Mumbrella understands
. The pair were not directors of the company. Originally, the four directors were Scott Briggs, McConville, Anthony Dunlop – who has not been seen since September – and former Carlton AFL player, Gleeson.

According to the current company extract, obtained by Mumbrella, the directors of the company are now McConville and Gleeson. Wilson is an investor, but not a director.

20Four, which launched less than two years ago, was created to show what life is like as a professional athlete in competition and everyday life. It was launched by Haigh, former Fox Sports head of strategy, research and analysis. A number of athletes jumped on board the platform including AFL stars Josh Kennedy and Brett Deledio, NRL stars Billy Slater, Benji Marshall and Paul Gallen, swimming star Mack Horton, cricketer Peter Siddle and netballers Sharni Layton and Caitlin Bassett.

In January this year, 20Four announced it would enter the ASX in a reverse take over, looking to raise up to $5m ahead of its stock market debut, thus valuing the company at $25m. A reverse take over takes place when a business wanting to be on the stock exchange acquires a low-valued and lightly traded listed company already on the ASX.

Mumbrella understands ASIC has been made aware of the situation.

According to those close to the business, one of its downfalls was the business model was centred around paying athletes large sums of money to work with the platform. It is not yet clear whether athletes are owed money.

Mumbrella approached Wilson and McConville for comment and clarification. 


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