UCI insists USADA stops disciplinary proceedings against Armstrong and others
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Saturday, August 04, 2012

UCI insists USADA stops disciplinary proceedings against Armstrong and others

by Shane Stokes at 3:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Tussle over US Postal Service doping allegations continue

Pat McQuaidFurther to the news yesterday that USADA had rejected calls by the UCI to allow it to assume responsibility for the doping investigation into Lance Armstrong and others connected to the US Postal Service team plus hand over the entire case file, the UCI has instructed the agency to stop from proceeding further with the case.

“If USADA would not accept to entrust results management to an independent person or body then we suggest that USADA and UCI submit the issue of jurisdiction for results management to CAS,” its president Pat McQuaid said in a letter sent yesterday to the agency. “Please let us know what USADA’s position is in this respect. In the meantime and until further notice UCI denies USADA any authority to act or proceed on the basis of ADR [anti-doping regulations] or any other rule of the UCI or otherwise on behalf of UCI and/or USA Cycling. We inform USA Cycling accordingly.

“Now that UCI has been advised of the request for proceedings before AAA [American Arbitration Association] we inform also AAA and the Respondents.”

The UCI is contesting USADA’s assertion that it has jurisdiction to bring charges against Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and RadioShack Nissan team doctor Pedro Celaya, as well as Michele Ferrari, Luis Garcia Del Moral and Pepe Marti. The latter three have already been handed lifetime bans by USADA after they did not respond to a deadline to defend against serious doping charges. Bruyneel and Celaya have opted for an arbitration hearing, while Armstrong is currently fighting USADA’s jurisdiction before a federal court in Texas.

Arguments over which body should examine case:


USADA states that is has jurisdiction as it was the first body to uncover evidence of an alleged long-running doping conspiracy on the US Postal Service team.

The UCI argues that it was first, basing this on the receipt of Floyd Landis’ email of April 30th 2010, but USADA contests this, saying that it had gathered evidence prior to this point in time.

In a long letter sent to the UCI, it also said that the UCI has at least one conflict of interest in the case; it points to previous repeated defences of the accused by the UCI when one or more were accused of involvement in doping, to large sums of money paid by Armstrong to the UCI, to a statement by former UCI President Hein Verbruggen, saying that the rider had ‘never used doping…I say this because I am sure,’ by rubbishing Floyd Landis’ claims of doping and suing the rider, and also because of its role to promote the sport and put it in the best possible light.

McQuaid dismisses these claims, and states that even if a conflict of interest were to exist, that USADA and WADA could appeal any non-prosecution of the case to CAS.

His position now is a complete about-turn from that expressed in a video interview given to Sporza on July 11th. “The position of the UCI is that we are not involved in this…it is a USADA investigation, they are doing all the process in the United States,” he said then. “It is nothing to do with the UCI and we will wait and see what the eventual outcome is.”

At the time he said that cycling would be strong enough to survive a scenario where Armstrong could be stripped of his seven Tour titles for doping. “To be quite honest with you, I don't think at this point in time it would be disastrous for the sport, because I think…It is an affair that goes back fifteen years and I think most people involved in the sport, the fans of the sport and the people who follow the sport realise that the cycling of today is completely different to the cycling of five years ago, of ten years ago and fifteen years ago.”

Two days after that interview, he sent his first email to USADA contesting its jurisdiction in the case.

UCI statement issued today:

Further to that letter to USADA, the UCI issued the following letter to the press today:


UCI CLARIFIES USADA STATEMENT

Following public statement made by USADA on the position of the UCI regarding the disciplinary proceedings it opened against six persons the UCI wants to clarify.

After the Federal Department of Justice dropped its investigation into alleged doping fraud within the US Postal Cycling team, USADA continues to allege that such conspiracy took place indeed with the participants having committed the most serious doping offences over some fifteen years of time.

When Floyd Landis formulated his accusations in an e-mail sent on 30 April 2010 to USA Cycling, a UCI member federation, the UCI asked several national federations to conduct investigations. This included USADA that was acting on behalf of USA Cycling.

The UCI received no other information from USADA than that it opened disciplinary proceedings against six respondents on 12 June 2012.

Three respondents were banned for life because they didn’t respond or didn’t respond in time to USADA’s letter of accusation. USADA refused to provide UCI with evidence that these respondents received the letter of accusation in due time. In any case it is a matter of fact that these respondents didn’t receive the case file with the alleged evidence that USADA claims to exist against them. Nevertheless USADA claims that these respondents have accepted to be banned for life. Yet it seems that these respondents were banned for life for not having reacted to a letter of USADA. Furthermore the evidence that USADA claims to exist against the respondents was not reviewed by a neutral instance.

Likewise none of the other respondents have seen the evidence that USADA claims to have collected. Two of them are expected to file their defence by 15August 2012, yet still don’t know what is the evidence that USADA alleges to exist against them. It is amazing to see how USADA accuses the respondents of cover up whilst USADA refuses to reveal the evidence that it claims to exist.

According to the World Anti-Doping Code and UCI’s Anti-Doping Rules that USADA claims to apply, the UCI is the authority having results management for this case. USADA claims that there are elements with best results management authority in USADA, yet refuses to show what these elements are.

For the UCI it is clear that USADA claims an authority that it does not have and uses procedures that violate basic principles of due process.

The absence of any evidence that has been made available to the respondents and to the UCI, the fact that USADA has no results management jurisdiction in this case, the fact that USADA refuses to have its file assessed by an independent results management authority and the fact that USADA continues to claim in these circumstances publicly that a doping conspiracy has taken place indeed brings UCI to the conclusion that USADA has no respect for the rules and for the principles of due process. This raises great concern.

The UCI wants that the case is judged according to the rules, upon facts established on the basis of sound evidence and by a neutral instance, including in the stadium of results management. The UCI wants that justice is done. Justice cannot be done by violating rules on jurisdiction, with files that have been kept secret so far and results management proceedings that are not fair.

By having condemned the respondents in advance in public USADA has no option but to use all means to have its case pushed through. By having proclaimed itself as the representative of the millions who want to have a clean sport, USADA has made this case the one in which it cannot afford to lose its face or its very existence.

This is not a sound basis for justice to be done, not to the respondents, not to the whole of athletes in the world and not to the world of sports as a whole.

This is the reason why the UCI, although being the competent authority for this case, wants the case to be given in the hands of a third results management authority independent both from UCI and USADA.

That authority has to decide whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed and for the respondents to have a case to answer, even if ultimately the merits of any disciplinary proceedings should be judged by an independent body as well. Indeed due process is required also for results management in order to protect athletes and other persons from being dragged into disciplinary proceedings without sufficient basis and without respect for the applicable rules.


Neither USADA nor WADA have yet responded to requests for comment on the UCI’s position; VeloNation will publish those responses when they arrive.



Note: The UCI's letter to USADA can be downloaded here: [source PACER.gov, file available for download courtesy of Cyclismas.com]

USADA's letter to the UCI available here:

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