Legal challenge to Swiss Cycling’s nomination of McQuaid for UCI presidential role
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Friday, June 07, 2013

Legal challenge to Swiss Cycling’s nomination of McQuaid for UCI presidential role

by Shane Stokes at 5:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Former Swiss national coach Buergi and Skins combine to take court action

Pat McQuaidAs an important June 15th vote nears for Cycling Ireland’s clubs in relation to the proposed Irish nomination of Pat McQuaid for a third term as UCI president, it has been announced that Swiss Cycling’s apparent backing of him is subject to legal challenge.

Former Swiss national coach Kurt Buergi and the Skins clothing company are joining to instigate legal proceedings relating to Swiss Cycling’s announcement on May 16th that it would nominate McQuaid for a third term.

The Irishman needs the backing of a national federation in order to be able to run again and with Cycling Ireland deciding to let its members decide in an extraordinary general meeting to be held in eight days’ time, McQuaid opted to sidestep that process and seek nomination instead from Swiss Cycling.

However, according to today’s announcement, a legal challenge is being launched “on the basis that the endorsement was unconstitutional and made without proper authority.”

The announcement goes on to specify the reasons why Buergi and the Skins clothing company feel Swiss Cycling is open to being contested.

“The Presidential election requires a candidate to be a member of an affiliated Federation, but Skins and Kurt Buergi contest that Swiss Cycling was not constitutionally able to officially support Mr. McQuaid and that the endorsement is therefore null and void,” it states. “As a confirmed member of Cycling Ireland, Mr. McQuaid has already sought endorsement from the Irish Federation and membership of two Federations is not permitted under the UCI constitution.”

On May 17th the UCI told VeloNation that it was permissible for individuals to be members of more than one federation, but that they could only hold licences with one; today’s legal challenge sets out to contest that.

It also takes issue with another aspect. “Additionally, Skins and Herr Buergi suggest that the meeting which resulted in the Swiss Cycling announcement was irregular because the alleged vote to endorse Mr McQuaid did not occur. Consequently, a blatantly inaccurate interpretation of the meeting’s outcome resulted in a unilateral decision by the President of Swiss Cycling to announce the endorsement.”

VeloNation spoke to Jaimie Fuller, the chairman of Skins and a founding member of the Change Cycling Now pressure group, who elaborated on the second point.

“We understand that the motion passed was a motion to recognise Pat McQuaid’s democratic right to run for presidency, but that it was not a motion to actually endorse him,” he said. “We believe that the press release put out by Swiss Cycling misrepresented the wording of the motion in order to reflect an endorsement.”

“We also believe that the Swiss are usurping Cycling Ireland’s rights [to allow an EGM to take place and decide its stance on a nomination – ed.] I find it quite laughable that the Swiss board talks about Pat McQuaid’s democratic rights in that release, yet they have trampled all over Cycling Ireland.”

According to the announcement of legal action, Buergi is the sporting director of a Swiss national development team and a “staunch supporter and promoter of anti-doping.” It states that he was part of a mass resignation of coaches in 1999 over a lack of confidence in the Swiss federation’s commitment to anti doping.

“Kurt Buergi has strong reasons to contest the Swiss Federation's announcement and, as a sponsor of cycling we're delighted to support him,” said Fuller today. “We have openly said we would partner with anyone who had a constitutional right to make a legal challenge and this action confirms that the EGM in Ireland next week, really matters.

“There has been a suggestion that the Swiss announcement rendered the Irish vote as meaningless but the members of Cycling Ireland should be in no doubt that their vote really does count. If Cycling Ireland's members vote against endorsement, this action could then finally close the door on the prospect of a further term of office for the current President.

“I have personally sought clarification of the Swiss Federation’s meeting in May from the members present, but, as is their right, they have refused to provide details. It will be a very different matter when under oath in a court of law.”

Pat McQuaid has not released a manifesto for Irish voters to study in advance of the June 15th vote. In contrast, several Cycling Ireland members who have led the calls for a change in leadership have issued a detailed document (click here) outlining the reasons why they feel he should not be backed.

Many clubs around the country have been receiving feedback from their members as to how their delegates should vote at the EGM.

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