UCI presidential election: International federations call on McQuaid to agree to a CAS ruling on Article 51.1
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Monday, September 02, 2013

UCI presidential election: International federations call on McQuaid to agree to a CAS ruling on Article 51.1

by Shane Stokes at 8:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Irishman’s insistence that he has a valid nomination under scrutiny; USA Cycling and others want clarity

Pat McQuaidWith the UCI presidential election now just 25 days away and considerable uncertainty existing about whether or not Pat McQuaid has a valid nomination, several federations have called on the incumbent president to agree to a CAS hearing in order to determine the true meaning of Article 5.1 of the UCI Constitution.

USA Cycling, the Russian Cycling Federation, the Finnish Cycling Union, the Federation Algerienne de Cyclisme and Cycling Canada have all written to the UCI president pointing out the uncertainty that exists over his interpretation of Article 51.1.

“The cycling world has been watching the UCI Presidential race carefully and its reaction has varied from amusement to outrage, from bewilderment to astonishment,” they write in their joint communications to the Irishman. “The loudest voices are frustrated by the uncertainty that will accompany this year’s Congress in light of shifting nominations, retroactive laws, and midstream changes to the election process. We understand that Congress has the power to address the propriety of amending the election process, and it will speak when these matters are addressed in Florence.

“What is not before Congress -- and what remains a substantial question -- is the meaning of UCI’s Constitutional mandate concerning the nomination of candidates. Article 51.1 requires that any Presidential candidate be supported by a nomination from “the federation of the candidate.” Some read that provision as allowing an individual to be nominated by any federation of which the candidate is a member, regardless of the length of the candidate’s membership, his participation in the affairs of the federation, or his residence in the country in which the federation operates. Others believe that Article 51.1 unambiguously allows a nomination from only one federation, the federation, of the candidate.”

Article 51.1 has generally been taken to refer to a candidate’s home federation. McQuaid was nominated by Cycling Ireland in 2005 and 2009, the two previous years he has contested and won the presidential election.

He again sought nomination from Cycling Ireland this year, but that was ultimately refused after its member clubs voted not to back him. Prior to that vote, he had sought and received nomination from Swiss Cycling, the federation of the country he has lived in since 2005, and said that he no longer needed the CI nomination.

However with a legal challenge looming, that Swiss backing was rescinded on August 21st.

At the end of July McQuaid claimed to also have nominations from the Moroccan and Thai federations. He is neither from those countries nor does he live there, but he has disputed the interpretation of Article 51.1 as referring to a home federation.

“The federation of the candidate is the federation of which the candidate is a member,” he insisted during an interview with RTE Radio’s Myles Dungan on July 31st, adding that he was the member of ‘six or seven’ federations and felt that he could draw on the nomination of any of those.

The federations who have written to the UCI president indicate that they are not impressed by the turn of events, and want clarify from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“This uncertainty does not serve anyone’s interests, especially those of the delegates who rely on this year’s proceedings to allow UCI to prove to the cycling world that governance of their International Federation is ultimately grounded in the Constitution, and that the meaning of the Constitution is predictable and reliable,” they write.

“As a group, we believe strongly enough about the legal principles involved to ask a court to resolve this Constitutional dispute in due course. But we also care enough about our International Federation to try everything in our power to avoid a protracted battle that might cast the results of the election into doubt for many months to come.”

The letter makes clear that if McQuaid decides to push onwards and to impose his own understanding of Article 51.1 – and if he subsequently defeats Brian Cookson and secures a third term – that a legal challenge may well arise.

The federations have said that a CAS decision is needed to avoid this, and that they agree to be bound by whatever the court decides.

“We therefore are willing to forego the specter of any post-election litigation over Article 51.1 for the certainty of a pre-election, binding decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. We ask that you demonstrate your allegiance to the UCI Constitution and the welfare of all our constituents by agreeing to the same. Specifically, we ask that you agree to submit the following question to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for expedited resolution before Congress convenes:

“Under Article 51.1 of the UCI Constitution, which federation(s) may submit a valid nomination for a prospective candidate for office of President of UCI?”

The letter refers to a previous arbitration agreement held between the USOC and the IOC in 2011, which was used to settle a dispute over regulations. [Note: that decision related to the so-called Osaka Rule, which prevented athletes who had served a ban of more than six months from competing in the next Olympic Games. Ruling on the matter, CAS said the punishment was essentially double-jeopardy, and found in favour of the USOC, which wanted to be able to consider previously-banned athletes to the Games].

USA Cycling, the Russian Cycling Federation, the Finnish Cycling Union, the Federation Algerienne de Cyclisme and Cycling Canada say that they believe that both sides understand the “certainty and finality of a CAS decision,” and that following that route would confirm to the world that “the UCI is a federation of laws and not politics.”

The letter concludes by stating that if and when the UCI accepts the offer to put the matter to CAS, that the federations concerned will propose a draft Arbitration Agreement to be considered.

VeloNation understands that several more federations may also be on the verge of backing the request. The UCI and McQuaid have yet to respond publicly.

----

The full text of the letters is as follows:


Pat McQuaid, President
Christophe Hubschmid, Director General
International Cycling Union (UCI)
Ch. de la Mêlée 12
1860 Aigle
Switzerland

Re: UCI Constitution Article 51.1

Dear UCI:

The cycling world has been watching the UCI Presidential race carefully and its reaction has varied from amusement to outrage, from bewilderment to astonishment. The loudest voices are frustrated by the uncertainty that will accompany this year’s Congress in light of shifting nominations, retroactive laws, and midstream changes to the election process. We understand that Congress has the power to address the propriety of amending the election process, and it will speak when these matters are addressed in Florence.

What is not before Congress -- and what remains a substantial question -- is the meaning of UCI’s Constitutional mandate concerning the nomination of candidates. Article 51.1 requires that any Presidential candidate be supported by a nomination from “the federation of the candidate.” Some read that provision as allowing an individual to be nominated by any federation of which the candidate is a member, regardless of the length of the candidate’s membership, his participation in the affairs of the federation, or his residence in the country in which the federation operates. Others believe that Article 51.1 unambiguously allows a nomination from only one federation, the federation, of the candidate.

This uncertainty does not serve anyone’s interests, especially those of the delegates who rely on this year’s proceedings to allow UCI to prove to the cycling world that governance of their International Federation is ultimately grounded in the Constitution, and that the meaning of the Constitution is predictable and reliable.

As a group, we believe strongly enough about the legal principles involved to ask a court to resolve this Constitutional dispute in due course. But we also care enough about our International Federation to try everything in our power to avoid a protracted battle that might cast the results of the election into doubt for many months to come.

We therefore are willing to forego the specter of any post-election litigation over Article 51.1 for the certainty of a pre-election, binding decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. We ask that you demonstrate your allegiance to the UCI Constitution and the welfare of all our constituents by agreeing to the same. Specifically, we ask that you agree to submit the following question to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for expedited resolution before Congress convenes:

Under Article 51.1 of the UCI Constitution, which federation(s) may submit a valid nomination for a prospective candidate for office of President of UCI?

Submission of this question to CAS for pre-election determination would follow the recent example of USOC v. IOC, CAS No. 2011/O/2422. In its Award, CAS took care to note:

2.7. Both parties to this proceeding recognized that there was considerable uncertainty facing the world’ aspiring Olympic athletes and their National Olympic Committees because of the IOC Regulation. In recognition of these concerns and to their credit, in April 2011 the parties voluntarily entered into an Arbitration Agreement.

ARBITRAL AWARD, USOC v. IOC, CAS No. 2011/O/2422 (4 Oct. 2011).

As in USOC v. IOC, we believe that both sides understand the benefit that the certainty and finality of a CAS decision provides, and confirms to the world that UCI is a federation of laws and not politics.

For all these reasons, we request that UCI agree to submission of the question stated above to CAS for binding determination before Congress convenes. Immediately upon acceptance of this offer, we will propose a draft Arbitration Agreement for your consideration.

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