Geox-TMC crisis: CAS confirms that it can rule in some contract cases
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Geox-TMC crisis: CAS confirms that it can rule in some contract cases

by Shane Stokes at 6:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Court states that Geox and team owners would need to have a prior arrangement

Juan Jose CoboFollowing yesterday’s news that the management company running the Geox TMC team is planning on taking an action with the Court of Arbitration for Sport over a dispute with the chief title sponsor, Geox, CAS has commented on the matter.

Contacted by VeloNation, its Secretary General Matthieu Reeb has confirmed that CAS can indeed rule in some contract disputes. However to do that, a prior agreement enabling this will have to have been put in place between the parties concerned. In this case, it is the management company Club Deportivo Bike Live and Geox, an Italian footwear manufacturer.

“CAS can handle such matters provided that the contract has an arbitration clause in favor of CAS,” Reeb told VeloNation, adding that he did not know whether such a clause was in place or not.

Reeb confirmed that no claim had been filed as yet. He stated that there was no deadline in lodging a claim for damages.

However with the team already late in lodging the bank guarantee to the UCI, the clock is very much ticking.

Club Deportivo Bike Live stated yesterday that it had sent the rider contracts required by the UCI in applying for a WorldTour licence, but that without the bank guarantees it doesn’t have the financial security required as part of the application. It laid the blame squarely at its main sponsor, and vowed to take action.

“In breach of contractual obligations, the Geox company has inexplicably refused to deposit the bank guarantee required to complete the registration of the team with the UCI,” it stated then. “Club Deportivo Bike Live will ask Geox for the execution of contracts [to honour them – ed.] and some compensation regarding damages before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.”

The backer later issued a short press release making it clear that it was walking away from the sport. “Geox confirms the end of its sponsorship agreement with the professional cycling team leaded by Mauro Gianetti at the end of the current season,” it said. “After a year of experience in professional cycling, the company considers its presence in this sport not strategic anymore.”

It didn’t elaborate on the reasons or comment on the threatened CAS action.

The footwear company had originally said in August 2010 that it was backing the team. At the time, it was rumoured that it was putting in €50 million over five years.

Denis Menchov and Vuelta a España champion Juan Jose Cobo (pictured above) are the two biggest names in the lineup for next year. The latter confirmed four days ago that he had signed a one year extension to his contract. If the team is indeed forced to stop, UCI rules mean that his points won’t be transferred over to whatever new squad he signs for. The same will apply to all the other riders on the team, considerably denting their appeal to other squads and making their predicament even more serious.


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