Cookson planning to meet with many overseas federations between now and the UCI presidential elections
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cookson planning to meet with many overseas federations between now and the UCI presidential elections

by VeloNation Press at 12:16 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Briton says he will conduct at least one debate with McQuaid in front of continental federations

Brian CooksonUCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson is planning at least one debate with current governing body chief Pat McQuaid between now and the elections on September 27th, and will also travel to several global locations as he aims to build up votes.

Just seven weeks remain until the crucial vote at the UCI congress and the British Cycling president, who is McQuaid’s sole rival, is determined to try to maximise his support.

McQuaid has regularly travelled abroad to many countries since becoming president in 2005, building relationships with federations around the world.

Cookson, who has been a UCI management committee member since 2009, has had fewer contacts in that time and knows that he needs to meet with those who will be casting votes, explaining to them his plans for the UCI should he be elected.

Cookson told AP via telephone that he has planned stops in the Americas, Oceania and Africa, and that he may also travel to Asia.

One of the subjects that he will explain is his plans to help the sport develop globally and to gain popularity. Another is how it can become more credible, not least after the fallout from the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service affair.

Part of his solution to the latter lies with setting up truth and reconciliation-style commission. “I want that whole generation of riders and team managers to tell the truth about that era, what was involved, who facilitated it and who funded it,” he said. He added that partial or full amnesties could be offered in order to increase the chances that witnesses would testify.

He also wants to work with WADA and others in a more cooperative way than McQuaid has, and to ensure that a fully independent anti-doping body is established to monitor the sport.

Cookson indicated that he plans to engage in a debate with McQuaid before the European federations on September 17th. He also told AP that he is considering doing the same with other federations from around the globe.

McQuaid, meanwhile, may face a battle to ensure that his nomination stands. He was initially backed by Cycling Ireland but then lost that vote of confidence after its members voted against him. Instead, he secured nomination from Swiss Cycling.

The federation confirmed to VeloNation yesterday that McQuaid only became a member in May of this year, a timeframe which comes after problems with Cycling Ireland’s backing of him cropped up.

That nomination is subject to legal challenge and, according to Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Swiss Cycling is under financial pressure as a result. The publication also stated that three of the federation’s board members are not happy with the nomination and want it to be dropped.

McQuaid said last week that he is also member of the Moroccan and Thai federations and had been nominated by those prior to the closing date of June 29th. Although many have taken the wording of Article 51 of the UCI’s constitution as stating that it should be a candidate’s own [ie home] federation which should put them forward, McQuaid claims it can be any federation of which the candidate is a member.

Cookson has received legal advice on the matter, and also on a proposal by the Malaysian federation that candidates should be able to be nominated by any two federations worldwide. This would be backdated if it is approved at the UCI Congress.

“These machinations and manoeuvrings are bringing our sport into a very bad light,” Cookson said. “Trying to change the rules midway through an election is bizarre, frankly.”


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