Swiss Cycling confirms that McQuaid only became a member in May of this year
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Swiss Cycling confirms that McQuaid only became a member in May of this year

by Shane Stokes at 5:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Questions increase over federation’s backing of Irishman

Pat McQuaidThe ongoing saga about Pat McQuaid’s nomination for a new term as UCI president has taken a new twist, with the Swiss publication Neue Zürcher Zeitung claiming today that his membership of Swiss Cycling was only taken out in May.

The federation has subsequently confirmed that point to VeloNation. “He became a member of Swiss Cycling in May,” stated a Swiss Cycling spokesperson this morning.

McQuaid was nominated for a third term as UCI president by Swiss Cycling on May 16th, with that federation stepping up to the plate after he ran into difficulties with his Irish nomination.

The news increases the pressure on his nomination, which is already under legal appeal. A start date in May would indicate that the membership was taken out simply as a way to try to overcome a difficult situation with McQuaid’s Irish federation backing.

Cycling Ireland originally accepted his nomination request on April 12th, but then later changed its stance after it became clear that the original vote was invalid due to Article 42 in Cycling Ireland’s Memorandum and Articles. Rather than simply voting again, it bowed to public pressure on April 26th and decided to let Cycling Ireland’s clubs decide the matter at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Swiss Cycling subsequently announced on May 16th that it had nominated McQuaid for another stint as UCI president. While he had already requested nomination from one federation, Cycling Ireland, the wording of Article 51 appeared possibly to give him some leeway in relation to going to a second federation.

That Article states ‘the candidates for the presidency shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate.’

McQuaid has lived in Switzerland since 2005, shortly before becoming UCI President.

According to Neue Zürcher Zeitung, several board members have requested that Swiss Cycling’s president Richard Chassot withdraw McQuaid’s nomination. At the time there were suggestions that the backing was not unanimous, contrary to Swiss Cycling’s own announcement.

Several board members subsequently requested a meeting on this matter but that ultimately did not take place when it was made clear to them that the required quorum would not be reached to cause a change.

That nomination has since become the subject of a legal appeal. On June 7th it was announced that former Swiss national coach Kurt Buergi and the Skins clothing company were joining to take an action over the backing; six days later, it was confirmed that they had been joined by former Swiss Cycling board member Mattia Galli and the ex-pro Patrick Calcagni as co-claimants.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung states that a fourth individual sought to join that challenge, with the unnamed person being an incumbent coach on the payroll of Swiss Cycling. However he is said to have withdrawn two days ago, apparently due to implications for his appointment of that challenge.

The case will be heard by a three member tribunal on August 22nd, with the law professor Lukas Handschin heading that hearing.

Swiss Cycling under financial pressure over action:

It is also reported that a payment of 50,000 Swiss Francs had to be made beforehand; however, an advance on Swiss Cycling’s own payment of 50,000 Swiss Francs also had to be made by the claimants, according to NZZ, as Swiss Cycling stated that it couldn’t afford that amount.

Skins is understood to have covered both sums but if Swiss Cycling loses the case, it will have to pay the full costs of both sides. It is understood that this too is part of the reason why some board members want the federation to drop its nomination, with the federation facing real financial pressure if the ruling goes against it.

Last week McQuaid stated that he was a member of ‘six or seven’ federations and claimed that he also had the backing of the Moroccan and Thai federations. He also said that he believed Article 51 meant that a candidate could draw on the nomination of any federation, not just that of his home country.

It is understood that a legal challenge to this interpretation could ultimately be launched. If that is successful, it would mean that McQuaid’s sole hope of becoming UCI president again hinges on what appears to be an increasingly fragile Swiss Cycling nomination. His nomination by Cycling Ireland was rejected by its members in the EGM on June 15th.

British Cycling president Brian Cookson is his sole opponent in the election race.


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