The Drummond case and the RFEC: “We are guarantors”

Michaela Drummond was one of fifteen runners who started 2023 excited about the ambitious project of the Zaaf, a Spanish continental team that had among its ranks great runners such as the French Audrey Cordon-Ragot. However, and practically almost from the beginning, nothing went as expected. To begin with, the guarantee was presented by the team, yes, but outside the dates established at the end of 2022. It was a prelude to what could come later, because the brokers saw how the agreed wages did not arrive. Defaults were a reality and at the beginning of April, Cordon-Ragot itself left. The UCI made an exception and each runner could freely go to another team without waiting for June 1, as stated in one of her articles. Numerous were the companions who followed her until today there are less than eight runnersThey do not meet the minimum to be considered a team and even the UCI removed the Zaaf from its list on its website.

It was one of the ten Spanish teams that was going to be in La Vuelta a España Femenina, but they finally declined the invitation last week, without further reason. They simply informed the organization of their resignation. The runners, after broken promises, were looking for new destinations… and on April 28, the Galician Farto, one of the teams present in La Vuelta, announced the arrival of Michaela Drummond, from Zaaf. “He is incorporated with immediate effect”, they announced, with the intention that he be part of the seven of La Vuelta. It couldn’t be finally. El Farto, like Zaaf, are teams with a Spanish continental license, and everything related to them goes through the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC). The UCI is the one in charge, above another entity, and what they decide must be applied by the rest of the national Federations. In fact, they themselves changed their rule with the marches prior to June 1. So, what about New Zealander Michaela Drummond?

“My health is struggling, and the past few months have taken a toll on me. Now with the Spanish Cycling Federation refusing to sign me up for my new team. I am in total dismay. I would love to be able to compete again as soon as possible like my previous teammates who have successfully transferred to the new Continental and WWT teams.. I do not understand why the Spanish Cycling Federation does not follow the example of the UCI. There is no return for me.” put Drummond on social media. AS contacted the RFEC, which “understands” the broker’s message but “does not share it”. “In Spain we have the Labor Law Law. It is not easy to leave any job. If we accept that transfer right now, the Zaaf could sue the RFEC, because currently the brokerage has a contract with them”, they explain.

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The situation was as follows. The last friday, el Farto sent the RFEC an email with the request that Drummond run La Vuelta with them. Saturday was the final verification of licenses, and until Friday morning, the legal department of the RFEC was studying the case. They saw that it was not possible, since it did not depend on them. “We, at the RFEC, are guarantors. We have to make sure, and try, that everything goes in the best way. As we have a current contract, we cannot accept something like this. We are going to try to make everything come to fruition and on Wednesday (the first working day in Madrid this week) we will speak with the Zaaf. It depends on them that the runner can go to Farto ”, they explain to AS.

That is to say, a foreign team could leave, as happened in other cases, but each Federation has its internal regimes. “They are legal things, but we trust in the good faith of the Zaaf so that this is resolved”, they added. A different case is that of Mareille Meijering, formerly of Zaaf, and who also went to another Spanish team: Movistar. In this case, being a World Tour category, it is the UCI that directly accepts licenses from Switzerland. In this case, the RFEC does not take part. Meanwhile, women’s cycling continues to fight to improve its conditions. As a curiosity, it should be noted that the RFEC has received complaints for non-payment of all the Zaaf runners who have left, or asked to leave… except for Cordon-Ragot, who curiously was the first to leave. His complaint went directly to the UCI. The Zaaf case continues to rage and The brokers still cannot collect the guarantee that the team deposited at the time, which served to cover three monthly payments. It is an example similar to the Manuela Fundación, team that no longer exists and whose endorsement is yet to be distributed among those involved.

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