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Belmonte Kicked Out Of Sabadell

Sep 27, 2012  - Craig Lord

It all looked settled last week when Mireia Belmonte and CN Sabadell said that an agreement had been reached for the double Olympic silver medallist to remain in Barcelona on her way to a home world championships in the Catalan capital next summer.

Turns out that there was no agreement at all: Sabadell has issued a statement saying that Belmonte is no longer a licensed swimmer at the club after negotiations with the swimmer's entourage, headed by her father José, had broken down. 

The Spanish media says it comes down to this: before London 2012, she was funded to the tune of just over 2,000 euros a month but wanted to quadruple that figure after her Olympic success under the guidance of French coach Fred Vergnoux. 

Vergnoux lamented Belmonte's departure. He will stay on until Rio 2016 and coach the likes of Judith Ignacio, Conchi Badillo, Claudia Dasca, Lydia Morant and Aschwin Wildeboer, back from Denmark after four years away.

The club said that, beyond the financial question, it considered Belmonte, the first Spanish swimmer born in Spain to make the Ol;ympic podium in the pool, to have "behaved improperly". A row broke out at a function staged by the authorities in Sabadell, near Barcelona, for the 16 local athletes who had competed at the Olympics and Paralympics. Belmonte was said to have arrived with her parents but had "failed to greet" her fellow athletes. She was accused of being "rude".

Vergnoux is reported to have attempted to mediate between the parties, to no avail. 

Sabadell has subsequently issued a statement to say a board meeting on Tuesday this week had agreed unanimously not to renew the Belmonte's contract and federal license.

"It is no longer a purely economic issue, a matter the can always be discussed, but it is a matter of dignity and contempt for her teammates, her coach, her club, its members and the City Council of Sabadell. She has been disrespectful to everyone," said club president Miquel Torres. "Their [family] attitude is arrogant and is an affront and an insult to who has cared for her career." 

He further accused the Belmonte entourage of trying to use "offers from Australia and the US" as leverage for getting more out of Sabadell. 

Belmonte, in Germany for a sponsor-related event, was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Spanish media, according to several publications this morning. She is said to be considering offers in the US and Brazil.

Vergnoux, meanwhile, is currently in Kraków at a Polish swimming coaches conference.