Armstrong Affair: ICAS president Coates to draw up UCI’s independent commission
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Armstrong Affair: ICAS president Coates to draw up UCI’s independent commission

by Shane Stokes at 7:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Process put in motion for review of governing body’s role and past actions

UCISaying that its goal is to restore confidence in cycling and its own capacity to govern it, the UCI has taken the next step towards an independent review.

The governing body today announced that it had invited John Coates, President of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS), to give recommendations as regards the composition and membership of the independent commission. The latter will look into the issues thrown up by USADA’s investigation into the Armstrong affair, including the UCI’s own role over the years.

It has been decided that the commission will be made up of three members, with the chairman to be a respected senior lawyer, the second a forensic accountant and the third an experienced sport administrator. The UCI has said that all three will be independent of cycling.

Coates has already drawn up a list of senior legal figures who could potentially fill the role of chair, as well as the sport administrator role. The forensic accountant will be appointed by the chairman once he is in place.

“We would like thank John Coates for his recommendations, which we will follow to the letter,” stated UCI President Pat McQuaid. “The purpose of this independent commission is to look into the findings of the USADA report and ultimately to make conclusions and recommendations that will enable the UCI to restore confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body.”

The UCI has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as it became increasingly obvious that Lance Armstrong had doped to win his seven Tour de France titles. Its former president Hein Verbruggen is known to have been close to Armstrong and has defended him in the past, while the Texan also made two large payments to the governing body.

The issue has led to increased calls for a separation of the policing and promotion aspects of the sport, with some calling on the UCI to relinquish all control of anti-doping and to instead allow a body such as WADA to coordinate it.

In a management committee meeting on October 26th, the governing body said that it would establish a fully independent commission to ‘look into the various issues and allegations contained in the USADA decision relating to the Armstrong affair.’

Given the scale of the US Postal Service scandal and the fact that rampant drug use by the team continued over a long period of time, an independent review will be welcomed by many. Reaction will be sought to Coates’ appointment; like McQuaid and Verbruggen, he is a member of the International Olympic Committee, although many high profile individuals in sport are.

In his role as Australian Olympic Committee president, Coates recently said that he believed athletes and staff should sign a pledge saying that they have never had any links to doping. “If they don’t sign, they don’t go to the Games, they won’t be selected,” he said in a statement. “What I don’t want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has.

“In my opinion we simply cannot allow the name of the AOC to be damaged, like that of the International Cycling Union, for not having taken every reasonable step possible to ensure that no person in authority on our Olympic team has a doping history,” he explained.

The UCI stated today that it has drawn up draft terms of reference for the commission, but that the members themselves will decide the final terms.

Surprisingly, the governing body has said that it has taken on the role of contacting those nominated by Coates for the chair and sports administrator positions. It states that it is determining their availability.

The final report and recommendations are due to be published on or before June 1st of next year.

McQuaid, who is up for re-election next September, has insisted that cycling has a bright future. “Those who will define that future can be found among the current generation of riders who have chosen to prove that you can compete and win clean,” he said.

The outcome of the commission report could also have a big role to play in shaping that future.


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