Marc Biver and the Zeus management company, which oversaw management of the Astana ProTour team in 2007, responded Monday to comments from Astana's 2008 Team Manager Johan Bruyneel. The former Team Discovery Channel director had announced he would pay overdue 2007 Astana rider salaries out of an escrow account set up by the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation (KCF).
According to a press release posted Monday on team-astana.com, Zeus said the company never received official notice of the cancellation of its contract with the KCF which holds the ProTour license-holder for Team Astana. The Zeus - KCF contract was slated to run until 2010, but the collaboration ended in September, around the time the 2007 team's riders stopped receiving payment of their salaries and when Bruyneel confirmed his role as the team's new leader.
Biver's management company reported that it was the KCF who was supposed to pay the riders' salaries and failed to do so. Zeus claimed it appealed to the UCI to release the Astana team's bank guarantee to pay the back salaries owed to the team's riders from 2007, but no funds were released. Zeus pointed to an Ernst & Young report from August 31, 2007, which looked at each UCI ProTour team seeking to renew or obtain a ProTour license. The report showed no remarks on any of the teams' accounts and approved all without restrictions.
KCF had previously indicated it would take full responsibility for the salaries according to comments made by Bruyneel in late November.