The boss of Groupama-FDJ says “he doesn’t want football agents in cycling,” as Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent moves into cycling.
Jorge Mendes, who represents a number of star names in football including Ronaldo and José Mourinho, will venture into cycling with his company Polaris Sports by partnering with a cycling agency.
But Marc Madiot, the team manager of French squad Groupama-FDJ, is concerned about football agents entering the sport, saying he doesn’t want the same system of contracts being introduced in cycling.
In an interview with RCM Sport, Madiot said: “I don’t want the football system.
“The system of agents in football, what’s that? It’s having a portfolio of players and making them move as often as possible in order to go to the bank as often as possible.
“They gamble in an expanding financial bubble. Where is football right now with that financial bubble, with everything that’s going on at the moment with Covid? They are staring into the abyss. And we want to let people like Mendes into cycling? I don’t want Mendes in cycling. He can stay in Portugal with his footballers.”
Cycling rider contracts at WorldTour level are often short in duration, typically two or three years, and the contract lengths are traditionally respected by other prospective teams.
This is a contrast to the football contract markets, where long-term contracts are negotiated so riders have to be bought out of their contracts early for huge sums of money.
Mendes and Polaris Sports have entered into partnership with Corso Sports, a cycling agency that represents Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Joâo Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Madiot said: “If Mendes is Almeida’s agent, then Almeida will never come to my team.”
He added: “Of course we have agents already in cycling, but there is one extremely important element in cycling, which is that a contract has a fixed duration, and you respect the duration of the contract.
“That means that if a rider signs with me for two years, he does his two years. At the end of that, he is free and I am free. If I have 10 euros, I spend 10 euros – I don’t gamble on the five euros I could potentially earn upon the re-sale of a rider.”