US Postal case: UCI says it was never fighting to defend Lance Armstrong
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Monday, August 20, 2012

US Postal case: UCI says it was never fighting to defend Lance Armstrong

by Shane Stokes at 4:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Governing body indicates it accepts Texas court ruling, won’t oppose USADA arbitration

UCIPreviously determined to fight USADA’s charges in relation to the Lance Armstrong investigation, based on its claim that it rather than the American agency had jurisdiction in the case, the UCI has now indicated that it will accept today’s federal court ruling.

Texas judge Sam Sparks declared that his court did not have jurisdiction, and that the case was not one which should be settled in the federal system.

Effectively it clears the way for USADA to continue with its planned arbitration hearing, providing Armstrong decides not to simply accept the doping charges.

“For sure we accept the decision. What else can we do?” spokesman Enrico Carpani told Velonation, elaborating on a UCI statement acknowledging the decision.

“Our position was based on what we knew at that time and we proposed as a best decision a neutral, independent arbitration. The judge said the same thing. The conclusion is that he can share our concern, and an independent arbitration can meet our concern. So yes, we accept it for sure.”

The independent arbitration he refers to is that which will be run under the USADA and American Arbitration Association system; essentially what was proposed all along.

USADA will pick one arbitrator, Armstrong another. Those two will decide on the third person on the panel, who often has the deciding vote.

Carpani’s reaction represents a change in the UCI’s stance in relation to the matter. In recent weeks its president Pat McQuaid wrote to USADA and WADA, stringently opposing USADA’s plans to adjudicate in the matter. He insisted that the UCI’s rules dominated all others, and commanded USADA to stop its action.

This in turn led to a stern rebuke by WADA director general David Howman. “UCI’s refusal to cooperate with USADA appear to me to be against article 23.2.3 of the Code,” he told McQuaid in a letter.

“By adopting its current position UCI is sadly destroying the credibility it has slowly been regaining in the past years in the fight against doping.”

USADA had effectively accused the UCI of having too close a relationship with Lance Armstrong, and of having vested interests. Carpani today insisted this was not the case.

“For us, the most important thing is that we are not fighting for Lance Armstrong. We are just fighting from the beginning to defend our interpretation of the rules and of the WADA code” he said. “For us, the principle of this controversy was the respect of the international federation rules an autonomy in these kinds of matters. That for us was crucial, not the Lance Armstrong case itself.”

While the UCI was opposed to USADA’s arbitration, it now says it accepts Sparks’ contention that the arbitration panel is neutral. “Now if the case will be decided in an independent arbitration, that is the best thing…once again it was what we had proposed from the beginning.

“What we disagreed based, once again on what we knew at that time, was the jurisdiction of USADA on this matter because we were and are convinced that the international federation has roles to play, that they have to defend their own autonomy in this situation.”

“As is our right, we wanted just defend our interpretation of the rules and to defend the role of the international federation. We accept the decision of the judge.”

USADA has said that Armstrong has three days to decide if he will fight the case or instead accept the charges against him.

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