Missing payments and broken promises from Winterfox owner Brian Cordry have left the organization’s Counter-Strike players stranded in Australia without proper visas or return flights to The United States, the players have alleged. The players fear they will not be able to return to America in time to play their next ESL Pro League match Thursday against Renegades.
According to the players, Cordry failed to pay the team its salary for March and also failed to help the players acquire proper work visas, which is why the team returned to Australia. Cordry allegedly cited “late sponsorship payments” as the reason he could not pay the team or orchestrate a resolution to the visa problems. He has also ignored multiple requests for an update, the players said.
The Winterfox players — Mike “apoc” Aliferis, Chris “emagine” Rowlands, Chris “ofnu” Hanley, Ryan “zewsy” Palmer and Razmik “RaZ” Bastadjan — contacted ESL on multiple occasions in hopes ESL would help facilitate a resolution, but they were allegedly told matters between players and organizations “should be sorted internally.”
Additionally, former Winterfox player Chris “dexter”‘ Nong says he is owed $3,200 in outstanding payments dating as far back as October. Dexter remained under contract following his departure of the active lineup per Cordry’s request, dexter said, but he has not been paid for that time.
Cordry declined comment, and the ESL could not be reached for comment. If the players cannot return to America by Thursday’s match, they must either forfeit or play from Australia, which has an extremely high ping. Even though the matches are online, it’s important for the teams to play from the same country so that they are on as equal a playing field as possible with regards to connectivity and internet speed.
Without a resolution, the players would likely forfeit their remaining five matches, which would send them into the ESL Pro League’s relegation tournament. They would have to defend their spot against teams from the ESEA Premier Division. If they still cannot resolve the visa issues and have to forfeit those matches, the Winterfox players would be dropped to the Premier Division. Winterfox is 2-14 and 13th out of 14 teams in the North American division of the ESL Pro League.
Winterfox revealed its Australian and New Zealand lineup in August, which included dexter and three of the five current players on the team.