Without boring you, the process to registering a team with the UCI first involves sending them a copy of proposed contracts with riders and then, months later, setting up bank guarantees and a financial evaluation of the team.
|Pegasus the winged horse was a creature of myth and fantasy|
In the light of the worries about the Pegasus team, where rumours suggest sports financier George Gillett was set to back the team but dropped the entire project when news of Contador’s positive story broke, I’d suggest a rule change: teams shouldn’t sign riders until the funding of the team is certified.
Any company seeking to sponsor a team should receive a formal letter from the UCI, addressed to its global head office, seeking confirmation of the intention to fund a team. In addition a copy of this letter should be sent to the same company’s auditors. Once a satisfactory response is received in duplicate then the concern should shift towards ensuring riders are hired on appropriate terms. But there’s no point signing riders if the sponsor isn’t committed to the sport.
In the case of a team set up by a millionaire like Luxembourg and the deep-pocketed Flavio Becca then the letter is simply addressed to the likes of Mr Becca or perhaps the sugar-daddy type sets up a company to fund the team and injects cash into the business, an amount which is then confirmed by its auditors.
Whilst it is right that the template contract is approved by the UCI, precedent suggests that the source of the money needs to be verified before a rider is signed.
- As a footnote, remember that there’s still time for Chris White and company to save the day with the Pegasus cycling project. Let’s hope that this can be resolved before the deadline.