Brian Cookson launches presidential Manifesto for “Restoring Trust, Leading Change”
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Brian Cookson launches presidential Manifesto for “Restoring Trust, Leading Change”

by Ben Atkins at 10:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
British challenger symbolically chooses place of original UCI founding

brian cooksonBrian Cookson officially launched his election Manifesto in Paris, France, today, for his bid to become the next President of the International Cycling Union (UCI). The Englishman, who is currently the President of British Cycling, and a member of the UCI management committee, deliberately chose the Hotel Radisson Blu, on Boulevard Haussmann, he said, as it was just steps away from the location where the UCI was founded in 1900.

“I wanted to come to this symbolic location because I believe that we need a new President of the UCI who will restore the values which the UCI was founded to uphold and to take the sport in a new direction,” Cookson told the press conference. “‘Restoring Trust, Leading Change’ outlines my vision for the UCI and for our wonderful sport of cycling. My aim is to fully restore the credibility of both.”

Cookson’s Manifesto features six key pledges that he feels will accomplish his vision, which are as follows:

  • Rebuild trust in the UCI
  • Transform anti-doping in cycling
  • Grow cycling across the globe
  • Develop women’s cycling
  • Overhaul elite road cycling
  • Strengthen cycling’s credibility and influence within the Olympic Movement

“I believe the most important challenge for the new President is to restore trust in the UCI, and most importantly to rebuild people’s faith in the way that anti-doping is dealt with,” Cookson explained. “We need to give people reasons to believe that the future will be different from the past. We must build a culture of trust and confidence.
“If elected, my first priority will be to establish a completely independent anti-doping unit, managed and governed outside of the UCI and in full cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA]. This unit would be physically and politically separate from the UCI, responsible for all aspects of anti doping, and report to a board totally independent from the UCI.”

In addition to his key pledges, Cookson is also keen to deal with the issues and allegations raised during the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) into Lance Armstrong, and is committed to:

  • Open an independent investigation into allegations that the UCI colluded to cover up past doping offences
  • Put an end to the UCI’s public feuding with anti-doping bodies, such as WADA, AFLD and USADA

“It is absurd that a sport that has suffered so much from doping has been in open conflict with the very people it should be working in partnership with,” he said.

As part of his drive to “rebuild trust in the UCI”, Cookson pledges to change the way that the organisation works, as well as making the President’s own finances a matter of public record.

“It is critical that the UCI embraces a more open and transparent approach in the way it conducts business,” he said. “Leading by example, I will introduce a range of good governance measures, including the publishing of all my financial interests, remuneration package and any potential conflicts of interest relating to the office of President.  Once we have restored trust in cycling and the UCI, it will make our other tasks of developing the sport worldwide so much easier.”

One of the areas where incumbent Pat McQuaid claims success is in the globalisation of cycling, with the spread of the sport to new markets around the world. Cookson unsurprisingly addresses this area, and has some ideas of his own on how it might proceed.

“Our sport has such fantastic potential worldwide,” he said. “If elected President, I will establish a properly resourced and staffed International Development Department tasked with building our sport across the five continents and I will expand the programmes at the World Cycling Centre, increasing its budget, hosting more riders from developing nations and utilising the experience of the more successful nations to  nurture cycling in developing nations.”

As part of his Manifesto Cookson pledges to enhance elite road race, in which he has identified four specific areas for action:

  • Working with all stakeholders in professional cycling to create a simpler more cohesive events calendar
  • Establishing a stronger global series of tiered races for up-and-coming athletes and events
  • Develop a structure that promotes long term financial stability
  • Refocussing the UCI's Global Cycling Promotion (GCP) unit to create a clearly understood strategy for developing races and eliminate conflicts of interest with other race promoters

The development and support of women’s cycling has been a big issue within the UCI for several years, with teams and race disappearing from a side of the sport that faces an annual struggle for survival. Cookson now promises real action to improve and grow the women’s sport, as he explained.

“I strongly believe there is huge potential to grow women’s cycling at all levels,” Cookson said. “As UCI President, I will make it my priority to create new opportunities for women’s cycling in all disciplines, and also create a new UCI Women’s Commission, appoint at least one woman to every UCI Commission, establish a minimum wage for women pro road riders and formalise proper and modern terms of employment.

“It is through these pledges that I hope to begin a new era of collaboration, openness and transparency in cycling and restore the trust that has been lost in our great sport,” the Englishman concluded. “I passionately believe that I can steer the UCI to a much firmer footing and, in full partnership with the cycling family, help grow our sport at every level across the world.”

A full version of Cookson’s Manifesto can be read on his website here.


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