McQuaid wants Cookson and British Cycling to drop possible legal action in relation to process of UCI Presidential election
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Friday, August 16, 2013

McQuaid wants Cookson and British Cycling to drop possible legal action in relation to process of UCI Presidential election

by Shane Stokes at 6:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Despite questions about his nomination, Irishman insists election should be decided by delegates only

Pat McQuaidResponding to the ongoing questions about the UCI presidential election nominations he says he has, UCI chief Pat McQuaid has issued a statement calling on Brian Cookson to end a legal challenge by British Cycling in relation to that process.

McQuaid claims that a letter sent from British Cycling’s lawyers to the UCI questions whether McQuaid did indeed receive nominations from the Moroccan and Thai federations prior to the cut off date of June 29th.

“That is an outrageous suggestion. Brian must immediately make a statement on whether he believes that to be true and if he believes otherwise he has duty to ensure that this allegation is publicly withdrawn,” said McQuaid in a statement issued by his press officer Ian McClure.

In that communications, McQuaid stated that his nominations from the Swiss Cycling Federation, the Thai Cycling Association and the Féderation Royal Marocanine were all received by the designated closing date.

“As the President of British Cycling, Brian Cookson must explain his decision to allow his federation - that is funding his campaign - to behave in this way and to use its considerable financial clout to employ lawyers to challenge issues in the election,” said McQuaid.

Convoluted nomination process:


However questions have arisen as the Irishman had never mentioned either federation as nominating him prior to July 29th, the same day a new Malaysian proposal was announced which would allow any two global federations nominate candidates for the presidency.

While that proposal has been recognised as having some merits, it is controversial as if it is approved, the UCI has said that it would be backdated and allow new candidates to come forward up to Friday August 30th.

In addition to that, there is also debate about whether Article 51 of the UCI Constitution allows any federation of which a candidate is a member to nomination him or her.

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

This was generally accepted as referring to a candidate’s home federation. McQuaid’s nationality is listed as Irish on all UCI documentation and he initially sought, and received, nomination from Cycling Ireland this year, as he had done prior to the last two UCI elections.

However when that nomination ran into problems after Cycling Ireland failed to follow correct procedures, McQuaid sought the backing of the Swiss federation instead, pointing out that he has lived there since 2005.

That federation recently told VeloNation that McQuaid only joined the federation in May, making it apparent that his move was a reaction to the realisation that the Irish vote was looking shaky.

His nomination from that federation was ultimately rejected when Cycling Ireland members voted 91-74 against backing him in an extraordinary general meeting held on June 15th.

At the time, McQuaid said that he no longer needed the Irish nomination as he had secured the backing of the Swiss Federation on May 15th.

Swiss nomination under legal scrutiny:

McQuaid is under pressure after the Swiss backing was challenged by three general members of the federation plus the Skins clothing company, which is run by the Australian Jaimie Fuller.

Fuller has been critical of McQuaid and the UCI, saying that big changes are needed to restore credibility.

There have been suggestions that the so-called unanimous backing of McQuaid announced by Swiss Cycling on May 15th was not supported by all board members of that federation. VeloNation understands that three members may have sought to have this nomination overturned, but were ultimately unable to do so when a meeting they called did not reach the quorum necessary for any changes to be made.

The Swiss publication Neue Zürcher Zeitung stated one week ago that several board members have requested that Swiss Cycling’s president Richard Chassot withdraw McQuaid’s nomination.

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

If the federation loses that case, it will be liable to pay the legal costs of both sides; Neue Zürcher Zeitung stated last week that the federation is already worried about the possible ramifications of this, with its annual budget already under pressure.

There has been speculation that in the event that Swiss Cycling loses, that Skins – which has lodged a total of 100,000 euro to cover the legal costs of both sides at this point – would allow Swiss Cycling to repay this figure over a long period of time. However VeloNation understands that this is not the case and that no such concession would be permitted.

In his statement today, McQuaid faulted Skins for its action, claiming that the company has a vested interest in the outcome of the election as it has backed Cookson.

However that backing came months after Fuller – as part of Change Cycling Now – made clear he was opposed to McQuaid’s re-election, arguing that the sport needed a fresh start to be credible.

Despite the existing questions about his nominations, McQuaid ended his statement today by calling on Cookson to drop any legal challenge and to face him before the delegates at the UCI Congress.

“I do not fear an open election and I am not at all concerned by my ability to secure the support and votes that I require to be re-elected as UCI President,” he said. “While it would appear that Brian has lost confidence in his own ability I continue to challenge him to allow the UCI Congress and its voting delegates to decide.”

Cookson is yet to respond to McQuaid’s statement. At the time that McQuaid announced he could rely on the backing of the Moroccan and Thai federations if necessary, the British Cycling president said that his rival was attempting to change the rules midway through the election.

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