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Astana future secured but salaries under review

Kazakh culture and sport ministry assume funding of cycling team but could see salaries cut

Joe Robinson
5 Mar 2018

The future of the Astana cycling team has been secured as the Kazakh culture and sport ministry has assumed control of the team from the Samruk-Kazyna national welfare fund. However, it was confirmed that the salaries of the team's top earners would be under review.

In an article published by Tengri News, the Kazakh minister for culture and sport Arystanbek Mukhamediuly confirmed that the government office would be assuming financial ownership of the entire club that also includes professional football and basketball teams. 

In an article given to Kazakh press last month, team director Alexander Vinokourov stated that 'the guys have not received their salaries.

'The situation is critical. There are 30 riders under contract, we have obligations towards them. It’s more than 50 people if we add the staff that includes coaches, masseurs, doctors, mechanics.'

Mukhameduily confirmed that payments had been seized by the government to the team while the transfer of management took place and that these salaries will be reviewed to evaluate whether they represent good value for money.

'With the leading athletes, with whom the contracts have been signed, we will naturally re-examine how much it is,' Mukhameduily said.

'If the experts justify the athletes are entitled to so much then why not approve their current pay.'

This is a cause concern for the higher profile riders such as Jakub Fuglsang and Luis Leon Sanchez, who will be among the better paid riders within the team and now under pressure to perform and justify their salaries.

The Astana cycling team represents just a portion of the Presidential Club Astana which constitutes a variation of professional sports club based within Kazakstan.

In 2016, Astana cycling operated on a cost of €20 million for the season which will have no doubt decreased with Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru leaving the team in subsequent years.

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