Pat McQuaid blasts Brian Cooksons “half-baked” election Manifesto
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pat McQuaid blasts Brian Cooksons “half-baked” election Manifesto

by Ben Atkins at 11:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Incumbent president calls for challenger to explain key pledges made

pat mcquaidA day after presidential challenger Brian Cookson released his election Manifesto, International Cycling Union (UCI) incumbent Pat McQuaid has come out fighting with a challenge to the Englishman to explain what McQuaid feels is “half-baked.” Still to be confirmed as an official candidate for a third four-year term, McQuaid points at several of Cookson’s pledges.

“Brian Cookson’s election manifesto is half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical,” says the Irishman. “Just telling people what they want to hear is easy. He needs to explain how he is going to make it happen.”

McQuaid calls upon his opponent to "make a clear statement on whether he believes that cycling has changed, as many of today’s riders have said loudly and clearly," and to "clarify whether he believes cycling is leading the fight against doping."

The main areas that come under criticism from McQuaid are Cookson’s pledges to set up an independent anti-doping body, separate from the UCI, and Cookson’s apparently changing stance on the need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help clean up the sport’s future.

McQuaid claims that, under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, it is not possible for the UCI to out-source anti-doping, as it is the UCI’s responsibility to run it itself. In doing so, however, he points out that the Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF) is becoming increasingly independent, which was voted for by Cookson in a recent UCI Management Committee meeting.

He calls for Cookson to explain what the difference would be between a new, independent agency and the current CADF.

Also, in reference to a comment from Cookson - quoted on the BBC, where he states: “At the moment, the anti-doping service within the UCI headquarters is just down the corridor of the president's office so that can't be right.” - McQuaid asks how far, “geographically,” he feels it should move before it can be fully independent.

Perhaps the most pertinent question asked by McQuaid on the issue concerns the funding of such an independent body; he asks how it will be paid for, and who it will be staffed by.

On the subject of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, McQuaid accuses Cookson of changing his position on the subject; stating that Cookson told Irish broadcaster RTE that he felt that there was no need for a Commission if those that had been involved in doping in the past would just come forward, but later said that there were “practical and legal issues” which prevented it from happening.

McQuaid calls for Cookson to say which of these two - apparently - different stances he takes on the issue, and demands that the Englishman explains what these “practical and legal issues” might be.

[Cookson explained, in an exclusive interview with VeloNation, that these issues included the fact that doping is illegal in many countries. Riders might escape sporting sanction, but then find themselves arrested on their return home - ed]

McQuaid also raises the issue of cost as he criticises Cookson’s proposal to enlarge the World Cycling Centre budget, and roll out satellite centres around the World.

On the subject of the Olympics, McQuaid asks Cookson how he will influence the International Olympic Committee (IOC) if he himself is not an IOC member, hinting at the cronyism that many feel surrounds the Olympic movement.

In what McQuaid refers to as “Other Issues,” he calls on Cookson to explain why he has, apparently, only recently become interested in Globalisation and Women’s Cycling. He calls upon the Englishman to explain how “his plans in these two areas differ significantly from what I have been doing successfully for the past eight years?” and calls for Cookson’s “credibility and track record” in both areas.

McQuaid’s final statement brings up Cookson’s deliberate choice to launch his Manifesto in Paris, where the original UCI was created in 1900. The reason for this, McQuaid states, was that the UCI was “launched specifically to replace the then International Cycling Association which these countries felt was too dominated by Great Britain.”

Great Britain, McQuaid recalls, “was even specifically excluded from joining the newly launched UCI for a number of years.”


Statement by Pat McQuaid, UCI President
 
Cookson must explain half-baked manifesto
 
Brian Cookson’s election manifesto is half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical.

Just telling people what they want to hear is easy. He needs to explain how he is going to make it happen.

He must also make a clear statement on whether he believes that cycling has changed, as many of today’s riders have said loudly and clearly. He  must also clarify whether he believes cycling is leading the fight against doping, in order to reassure the cycling family that he is prepared to stand up for the sport against those who attack it.

Independent Testing:

Brian Cookson’s manifesto is proposing nothing new on independent anti-doping, because the WADA Code simply does not permit the UCI, or indeed any other international federation, to create an independent anti-doping body.

As a signatory of the WADA Code, the UCI is responsible for all anti-doping in cycling. While it may delegate responsibility to a third party, any third party must comply with the UCI rules and the WADA Code – and so its operations must remain part of the UCI’s anti-doping programme.

What Brian is proposing, when you examine the detail, is simply to relocate the existing Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF) unit, which is as fully independent as the WADA Code permits, outside of the UCI building in Aigle.

As Brian should know, much of the testing in cycling is already independent as the UCI shares responsibility for anti-doping with organisations such as WADA, USADA, AFLD, CONI, amongst others. And as Brian should also know, no anti-doping test result is ever seen solely by the CADF. The results of every single test are seen by multiple anti-doping organisations.

Brian’s proposal that the “UCI must remove itself from the management of anti-doping” is a nice soundbite, but it demonstrates how little he understands about the WADA Code and the UCI’s responsibility as a signatory to the Code.

My own position, and that of the UCI, as we have said many times, is that we are in favour of independent anti-doping if WADA changes its Code to facilitate that for all international federations.

Brian must immediately explain:

  • Why he is proposing to establish a new anti-doping unit when the CADF already exists, whose independence he has vouched for, voted on and approved in numerous management committee meetings?
  • If he is now abandoning his decision at the very recent UCI Management Committee to support a recommendation from the UCI Stakeholders Forum to increase further the independence of the CADF?
  • How his proposal to establish an independent anti-doping board is any different from the recent decision of the UCI Management Committee to approve the appointment of a fully independent board for the CADF, a process which is already underway?
  • What is the fundamental difference between the independent CADF that exists and the new unit that he is now proposing?
  • How his proposed new “unit” will be staffed and funded and by whom?
  • How far geographically must the UCI relocate the CADF away from its President’s office to guarantee its independence?


Truth and Reconciliation

Brian must explain why he has two versions of where he stands on the subject of establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

His manifesto states that he supports Truth and Reconciliation if “a number of practical legal issues that require consideration” can be overcome. Yet Brian was absolutely clear in telling RTE Sport, as recently as 12 days ago, that cycling does not require a Truth and Reconciliation Commission if the people who have been involved in doping simply came forward and told the truth.

He also used his RTE interview (transcript attached) to present a detailed personal opinion of all the “practical and legal issues” that would need to be resolved to establish such a Commission, but said he was not confident these issues could be overcome.

Brian Cookson must explain:

  • What of the two versions of his position on Truth and Reconciliation should people believe?
  • What in his view are the “practical legal issues that require consideration”?
  • Whether he believes these legal issues can be overcome.


Costs:

Brian Cookson’s proposals to create new international departments, to increase the World Cycling Centre budget, to roll out new World Cycling Satellite Centres, to create a new UCI Commission and new internal UCI positions while also instigating independent investigations and a possible Truth and Reconciliation process bear no relation to the existing budgetary constraints and the financial resources available to the UCI.

He has prepared his manifesto as if money were no object. This money has to be found and he has given no indication from where it will come or how he proposes to generate new revenue streams to finance the multi-million cost of his aspirations.

Brian Cookson must explain:

  • Whether he has costed all of the proposals he has made?
  • How he proposes that the UCI will fully meet the cost of his proposals?


Other issues:

Brian Cookson should also explain:

  • How he can justify his assertion that cycling has lost its influence in the Olympic Movement when the sport has just been selected by the IOC Executive Board as one of the core sports at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games?
  • How he can claim that he can affect policy within the Olympic Movement when he is neither an elected member of the IOC, nor well known by the membership?
  • Why he is only now showing any interest in ‘growing cycling in the rest of the world’ and in women’s cycling when he has shown so little interest before? How do his plans in these two areas differ significantly from what I have been doing successfully for the past eight years? And what is his credibility and track record in the globalisation of cycling and in promoting women’s cycling?


Finally, the irony of Brian’s choice of historic venue to launch his manifesto suggests he doesn’t actually know the UCI’s history. The UCI was indeed launched in Paris by cycling federations from France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and the USA. It was launched specifically to replace the then International Cycling Association which these countries felt was too dominated by Great Britain, hence the choice of Paris. Britain was even specifically excluded from joining the newly launched UCI for a number of years.

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