Bank guarantee the issue
The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced today a list of 20 teams which successfully met the October 1 deadline for submitting an application for ProTeam status for the 2011 season. Astana, one of eight ProTour teams whose licence expires this season and is up for renewal, was one of the teams listed by the UCI in mid-August as having applied for ProTeam status, but it was not one of the 20 teams announced today by the UCI.
The Kazakhstan-based ProTour team confirmed, however, that it submitted an application, but stated in a press release that it was "not on the list of teams selected to the ProTour only temporarily because of a too short period for submission of the bank guarantee which will be forwarded to the UCI headquarters in the coming hours".
In order for a team's ProTeam application to be accepted, all of the following needed to be in order by the October 1 deadline: the budget, the sponsorship contracts duly signed with the main partners, the bank guarantee, and 12 contracts with riders duly signed by the two parties.
Once the UCI receives the bank guarantee from Astana, the team's application will be examined, but in the meantime, per UCI regulations, Astana faces an automatic increase in the registration fee of CHF 1,000 per day plus any rider has the right to terminate his present contract, without notice or liability for damages, through October 31.
Monetary problems have plagued Astana previously as the existence of the squad had been under serious threat in 2009 due to a series of late payments that season. The financial troubles led to extra demands from the UCI for the 2010 season, including a bank guarantee covering the year's budget.