Professional cyclists’ agents are to come under closer scrutiny, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced on Friday.

The UCI’s Management Committee convened in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday where it was decided to introduce tighter controls over who can become an agent to look after riders’ interests.

Traditionally, agents act as mediator between riders and existing or prospective teams to get the best deal for riders. With the best riders’ fees rising due to demand, and the potential for unscrupulous parties to take advantage of the situation, new rules governing agents have been long overdue.

Several teams have recently had riders poached by other squads with little regard to existing contracts, and part of the blame has been apportioned to ‘rogue’ agents with scant regard to existing transfer etiquette.

The UCI has stipulated that agents will now have to sit exams during 2011. If they pass, they will be awarded a UCI riders’ agent certificate which they will hold for four years.

UCI certified agents must then obtain a specific licence to act as a riders’ agent from their national cycling federation.

All riders’ agents must have passed the UCI exam, obtained a certificate and licence by January 1 2012.

The UCI will publish a list of registered and approved agents on its website.