McQuaid vs Cookson: Malaysian federation told to concentrate on home matters rather than international politics
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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

McQuaid vs Cookson: Malaysian federation told to concentrate on home matters rather than international politics

by Shane Stokes at 7:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Asian country’s minister of sport expresses concerns about controversial proposal to change Article 51

Pat McQuaidDays after it emerged that the Malaysian National Cycling Federation is trying to effect a change in the UCI constitution to modify the way presidential candidates are nominated, apparently benefitting Pat McQuaid, that country’s sports minister has made clear that he wants the federation to concentrate on matters more directly related to its own riders.

Malaysian sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin has told the MNCF that he believes it should have bigger priorities. “I don't wish to interfere in the MNCF's choice of who it wants to support in the UCI elections,” he said, according to the New Straits Times.

“But I wish to remind them that the focus of their efforts and priorities should be towards the wellbeing and development of our national cyclists and the events under their care, like our premier event Le Tour de Langkawi.”

Last Monday the UCI announced that the MNCF had proposed that instead of a presidential candidate needing to be nominated by his own federation, that such individuals should be able to be put forward by any two global federations.

The reason given was to ensure that the process is more independent.

Taken on those merits, the proposal has been recognised by some as a solid recommendation. However the controversial aspect is that the amendment to the current Article 51 of the UCI Constitution would be backdated if approved at this year’s UCI Congress; it would pertain to this year’s UCI Presidential elections and the previous nomination deadline date of June 29th would be waivered.

Instead, a deadline of August 30th would be applied, two months later than the already-passed cut off point.

The proposal appeared to be to the benefit of McQuaid, given that he had his nomination rescinded by Cycling Ireland and his backing by Swiss Cycling is currently subject to legal appeal.

Furthermore, on the same day that the Malaysian proposal was announced, the UCI confirmed that McQuaid had been nominated by the Moroccan and Thai federations.

Two days later, he told the Today programme on Irish national radio station RTE that he was a member of seven different federations and considered that he could draw on the nomination of any one of those, despite the wording of Article 51 suggesting that it should be a candidate’s home federation.

The Malaysian proposal and McQuaid’s insistence that he doesn’t need for the change to Article 51 to go through in order to draw on the Moroccan or Thai nominations has led to criticism.

McQuaid’s presidential rival Brian Cookson and American management committee member Mike Plant have both spoken out, faulting what has been proposed, while another UCI management committee member Igor Makarov has threatened legal action. USA Cycling president Steve Johnson has said that the UCI must play by the rules, and likened the proposed change as akin to changing the regulations pertaining to a bike race after the flag has already dropped.

European Cycling Union president David Lappartient has written to McQuaid advising caution, saying that he believes there are two drawbacks. “Changing the electoral process within the election phase leads undoubtedly to create tension, suspicion and a perception of manipulation at a time when we need appeasement,” he wrote.

“This proposal could also open the door to legal disputes relating to the election of the UCI President, risks that the lawyer of the Union Cycliste International, Maître Verbiest, certainly measured in his response brought to the attention of members of the Executive Committee.”

Khairy recognises that the matter has attracted a lot of debate and makes clear that whatever the MNCF decides to do, it must keep its own priorities in mind.

“As it is, this is a highly controversial issue, so I would not want to interfere in the political choices of the MNCF, or whoever they wish to support in this elections,’ he said, before adding. “They must remember that whatever they do, it has to benefit the development of Malaysian cycling.”

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