CAS confirms it could rule on UCI Article 51.1 in time before presidential election
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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

CAS confirms it could rule on UCI Article 51.1 in time before presidential election

by Shane Stokes at 4:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Court states that both the requesting federations and McQuaid need to agree on an expedited decision to get quick judgement

Pat McQuaidResponding to a question about the request by five federations to UCI president Pat McQuaid to allow the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make an important ruling on Article 51.1 of the UCI Constitution, CAS has confirmed that if an arbitration request is filed, it will work to have an answer ready before the September 27th presidential vote.

The court has however said that the enquiry should be lodged as soon as possible in order to ensure a timely resolution.

“No request for arbitration has been filed thus far on the matter. CAS can reach a resolution [by September 27th], but the parties should bring their case as soon as possible,” CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb told VeloNation. “In the event the time is too short to have a hearing in Lausanne, we can also organize it in another city, nearer to the Congress place, if it is easier for the parties.”

The confirmation makes clear that the matter could be resolved prior to the UCI presidential election. If McQuaid is deemed to have a valid nomination, that election will see him go up against Brian Cookson for presidency of the governing body.

On Monday it was announced that USA Cycling, the Russian Cycling Federation, the Finnish Cycling Union, the Federation Algerienne de Cyclisme and Cycling Canada had written to the UCI president pointing out the uncertainty that exists over his interpretation of Article 51.1.

That Article of the UCI Constitution 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However with a legal challenge looming, that Swiss backing was rescinded on August 21st.

McQuaid now says that the separate nominations from the Moroccan and Thai federations he claims to have secured before the closing date on June 29th are valid. He insists that rather than referring to home federations, the correct interpretation of Article 51.1 means that nominations can be made by any federation of which the candidate is a member.

This has been contested, and the request by the five federations is an attempt to determine with certainty if his interpretation indeed is the correct one.

Those federations have said that the creditability of the election depends on the CAS ruling.

“The cycling world has been watching the UCI Presidential race carefully and its reaction has varied from amusement to outrage, from bewilderment to astonishment,” those federations 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.”

They have requested that McQuaid allow CAS to provide clarification on the correct interpretation of the UCI rules, and suggested that if this is not done, there is a possibility of legal action after the elections.

They also warn that confidence in the governing body and the election itself could be adversely affected if McQuaid pushes ahead without CAS clarification.

In order to reach the expedited ruling needed before September 27th, McQuaid and the UCI have to both agree to the request to let CAS adjudicate the matter.

USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson confirmed to VeloNation that the federation has not yet received an answer, although there has been some limited communication.

“They acknowledged receipt of the letter and indicated a response will be forthcoming,” he said.

Reeb said that it would have to be verified that CAS is the appropriate body to assess the issue. “I guess that the case to be submitted is not an appeal but a kind of consultative request, of the same type as in the case between WADA and BOA regarding the non-selection for the Olympic Games of athletes suspended for doping,” he said.

“I cannot say if the UCI rules provide for CAS jurisdiction in such situation - and as CAS jurisdiction may be challenged, I will refrain from giving a personal opinion.”

In the event that McQuaid refuses to agree to the request, the federations concerned could in theory push on with a case themselves, compelling him to defend before the court. However having an expedited judgement requires the agreement and cooperation of both sides.

“If a CAS procedure is initiated and the parties disagree on an expedited calendar, there will be no possibility for CAS to render a final decision in September,” Reeb warned. “Only a temporary decision based on a possible request for interim measures seems possible in such a situation.”

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