Malaysian federation proposes unprecedented rule change which could assist McQuaid overcome hurdle to re-election
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Malaysian federation proposes unprecedented rule change which could assist McQuaid overcome hurdle to re-election

by Shane Stokes at 4:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Rule will be backdated if passed, nomination deadline extended; two new federations back McQuaid

Pat McQuaidIn what appears to be an extraordinary attempt to shift the goalposts midway through the current contest, the Malaysian federation has proposed an amendment to Article 51 of the UCI constitution which seems to boost the chances of current president Pat McQuaid to be elected once again.

Despite a current rule being in place which states that the presidential candidates must be nominated by their national federations, the Malaysian federation’s amendment proposes that candidates should instead by able to be proposed by any two federations.

In tandem with that, the Moroccan and Thai federations have said that McQuaid is now a member, and has their backing.

While this rule change will be voted upon at the UCI congress, it would be backdated if successfully introduced. This would mean that the amendment would pertain to the current election campaign, which already passed the closing date for nominations on June 29th.

McQuaid’s nomination chances were previously uncertain; rejected 91-74 by the Irish federation after they allowed their member clubs to decide if they should support him or not, he instead requested nomination from the Swiss federation.

It announced that it would give that support, but this has now been challenged legally. Until today, it meant that there was a possibility that he would be left with no nomination at the UCI Congress in September, and that his challenger Brian Cookson would be automatically elected.

The proposed regulation change could, however, change everything if it is indeed voted upon and subsequently passed.

UCI director general Christophe Hubschmid has circulated a letter to members of the management committee informing them of the proposed rule change.

“In their letter proposing the amendment, the Malaysian Federation and ACC [Asian Cycling Confederation] state that their aim is to reinforce the independence of future UCI Presidents by ensuring they are able to carry out the role based on serving the global interests of cycling, independently from those of any single nominating National Federation.

“Under the proposal, in addition to the current rule for nominating candidates, any two National Federations would also be entitled to nominate a candidate to stand for President of the UCI.”

He added that if the motion is passed, that the previous end-June deadline for nominations would be retroactively extended.

“As National Federations are being informed about this proposal after the original deadline to nominate presidential candidates has passed, as a transitional provision, for the 2013 Presidential elections only, the new amendment also proposes to allow any two National Federations to put forward candidates from now until a deadline of Friday 30 August 2013 at 12:00 CEST,” he wrote.

“These nominations will then become valid if the motion is subsequently approved at Congress. In future elections, the new rule, if adopted, will apply with the standard nomination deadline of 90 days before Congress.”

In a press release issued several minutes ago, the UCI has now confirmed that McQuaid has both membership of and backing from the Moroccan and Thai federations. It means that he has the support he requires to exploit the amendment, if passed.

McQuaid has a long link with Malaysia, having helped set up and run the Tour de Langkawi there in the mid 90s. It is the country’s biggest stage race and is ranked 2.HC on the UCI international calendar.

Unsurprisingly, Cookson’s campaign is not pleased by the development. “This letter is an embarrassment to cycling and a naked attempt to change the rules midway through the election,” a spokesman told VeloNation. “We must do better than this if we are to restore confidence in the governance of cycling.”

Background to the latest development:

UCI rules state that all candidates for election must be nominated by a national federation; this should be the home federation of the candidate. However because McQuaid is from Ireland but has been living in Switzerland for almost a decade, he regarded this as meaning he could be nominated by either of those.

McQuaid originally sought backing from Cycling Ireland, looking for the federation to repeat its nomination in the run up to the 2005 and 2009 elections. That federation duly nominated him on April 12th, but the action was later deemed invalid due to procedural errors.

At the same time Cycling Ireland came under increasing pressure from its members to put the matter to a vote; it accepted this demand and held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on June 15th.

Concerned by this, McQuaid sought to bypass the process and requested a nomination from Swiss Cycling instead.

That federation announced on May 16th that it would back him, but that pledge of support was soon thrown into uncertainty.

Firstly, there were suggestions that several board members had not nominated him, contradicting claims of unanimous support. Those individuals reportedly sought to have a meeting on the issue but, amid suggestions that a quorum wouldn’t be reached as the other board members would not turn up, the meeting was abandoned.

The matter wasn’t settled by that, however. Former Swiss national coach Kurt Buergi, former Swiss Cycling board member Mattia Galli and the ex-pro Patrick Calcagni combined with the Skins clothing company in June to launch legal action over the nomination.

That action is ongoing and raises uncertainty about the Swiss backing. McQuaid’s discomfort was ratcheted up a notch when, on June 15th, Cycling Ireland’s member clubs voted 91 to 74 against supporting him. That meant that his only route towards re-election was if Swiss Cycling’s support holds firm.

The latest development in the presidential battle has now seen those ground rules changed. It remains to be seen if this will be legally challenged, but a tense battle with previously clearly-defined rules now appears to be straying into grey areas.

Skins Chairman Jaimie Fuller is involved with the Swiss legal action and has responded to the latest news in typically colourful terms.

“The latest actions from UCI president Pat McQuaid are those of a desperate man trying to hold onto his dwindling power base. This abuse of process and power are unheard of in sports administration circles and his tactics most resemble those of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.

“Mr McQuaid obviously recognizes that Swiss Cycling could lose their defense of their endorsement of Mr McQuaid and therefore he has set off down a path to twist and manipulate the UCI rules in his own self interest.

“The fact that he has now become a member of the Thai and Moroccan Federations and has proposed changes to the constitution to enable them to nominate him for President should Swiss Cycling lose their action, shows the lengths that Mr McQuaid will go to in order to maintain his well-abused position.”


The letter sent to Management Committee members is as follows:



To all Management Committee Members,

Sent by email only

Aigle, 29 July 2013
Ref: Directorate General


Dear Management Committee Members,

You will have seen the agenda for the UCI Congress in September that has been sent out to National Federations today, together with nominations for UCI offices (President and Management Committee members) to be voted on at Congress.

You will see that the UCI has been sent a proposal from the Malaysian Federation – which has also been presented by the Asian Continental Confederation – to make a permanent change to Article 51 of the UCI Constitution concerning Presidential candidate nominations.

In their letter proposing the amendment, the Malaysian Federation and ACC state that their aim is to reinforce the independence of future UCI Presidents by ensuring they are able to carry out the role based on serving the global interests of cycling, independently from those of any single nominating National Federation.

Under the proposal, in addition to the current rule for nominating candidates, any two National Federations would also be entitled to nominate a candidate to stand for President of the UCI.

As National Federations are being informed about this proposal after the original deadline to nominate presidential candidates has passed, as a transitional provision, for the 2013 Presidential elections only, the new amendment also proposes to allow any two National Federations to put forward candidates from now until a deadline of Friday 30 August 2013 at 12:00 CEST. These nominations will then become valid if the motion is subsequently approved at Congress. In future elections, the new rule, if adopted, will apply with the standard nomination deadline of 90 days before Congress.

As you know, two candidates have so far been nominated to stand for President. Current President, Pat McQuaid, has received nominations from Swiss Cycling, the Thai Cycling Association and the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Cyclisme (all three of which he has membership), and Brian Cookson has been nominated by the British Cycling Federation.

I look forward to seeing you in Florence in September. Yours sincerely,


Christophe Hubschmid

General Director




Also see: Date finalised for legal hearing determining legitimacy of McQuaid’s Swiss backing

 

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