Days after Spain's biggest UCI Road World Championships win in more than a decade with Alejandro Valverde, a row over finances has broken out, with the Spanish National Cycling Federation on one side and elite men’s team coach Javier Mínguez on the other.
Longstanding Spanish sports director Mínguez, who took up the post of elite men’s national team coach in 2013, has claimed he was not paid by the Spanish National Federation for two years, that he is still not being paid enough and has threatened to quit at the end of the season.
“Cycling is my life, and in my head, I’m always going to be a director,” Mínguez, 69, said earlier this week. “But the position of national coach, at the price I’m being paid, isn’t worth it. It’s as clear as that.”
In an interview with news agency Europa Press, Mínguez said he had been let down by the Federation, and in particular its president, José Luis López Cerrón.
Mínguez claimed that in 2013 his understanding was that the Federation - which has been in financial difficulties with outstanding debts running into millions of euros, for many years - did not have enough money to pay him or any of the other sports directors. “In which case,” Mínguez asked rhetorically in the interview, “why was the federation’s technical director paid €40,000 [a year]?”
In 2015, Mínguez said he then signed a contract to receive an annual salary of €25,000, “which is shameful, not because we’re talking about me, but because a national trainer should not be paid so little. It has to be on a par with other sports.”
“He [López Cerrón] knows my opinion and he knows that the person who has to take action is him.”
Mínguez insisted that his personal friendship with López Cerrón, who first worked alongside the 70-year-old Spanish national trainer when the two directed 1990s professional team Vitalicio Seguros, was not going to be affected by the situation.
Responding to these criticisms, López Cerrón insisted to Europa Press that Mínguez “is the best,” and that he planned to offer him a new contract with an improved salary until 2020, and he understood if Mínguez felt undervalued. “It’s logical he wants to be better paid,” López Cerrón said.