UCI rejects federations’ request for CAS arbitration over McQuaid’s interpretation of Article 51.1
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Friday, September 06, 2013

UCI rejects federations’ request for CAS arbitration over McQuaid’s interpretation of Article 51.1

by Shane Stokes at 1:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Executive board rules out neutral evaluation of regulations, says delegates will decide at Congress

UCIResponding to the request made on Monday by five national federations calling on Pat McQuaid to allow the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on the correct interpretation of Article 51.1, the UCI has said today that it is rejecting the request.

“The UCI Executive Board, having considered and recognised the UCI Constitution and the Presidential nominations properly submitted under it, has ruled unanimously that it was for the Congress, as the highest authority of the UCI – rather than CAS – to consider all aspects related to the elections.

“The request for arbitration was made by six out of the 178 national federations. These federations had asked the UCI to submit the following question to CAS: ‘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?’”

In its communication, the UCI added that McQuaid absented himself from the vote of the executive board, plus the discussions beforehand.

He is its president, while the three vice presidents are Hee Wook of Korea, Renato di Rocco of Italy and Artur Lopez of Portugal.

The news means that the question mark over McQuaid’s nomination will linger on, and not be addressed until the day of the election itself.

Four days ago USA Cycling, the Russian Cycling Federation, the Finnish Cycling Union, the Federation Algerienne de Cyclisme and Cycling Canada wrote to McQuaid, saying that there was too much uncertainty about Article 51.1.

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

That has generally been taken to mean the home federation of the candidate, but at the end of July – after he had lost Cycling Ireland’s nomination and was weeks away from the Swiss backing of him being rescinded – McQuaid claimed that any federation of which the candidate was a member could nominate them.

He said at that point – and for the first time in the current election – that he was a member of ‘six or seven’ federations and that the Moroccan and Thai federations had also nominated him.

The five federations said that they were concerned at the question marks over this aspect.

“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 stated in a joint communciation. “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.”

Those federations added that the uncertainty ‘did not serve anyone’s interest,’ and that they believed a neutral CAS assessment and ruling to be necessary in order to ensure that the elections were fully credible.

They added that they “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,” thus making clear that post-election litigation could occur if McQuaid were to win through a disputed interpretation of the UCI Constitution.

Today’s announcement will do little to reassure anyone about this subject. In stating that Congress itself will vote on the matter rather than a fully neutral body such as CAS, it means that the voters will essentially be the same people who determine the rules for the election.

Neither the federations who lodged the request for CAS arbitration nor Cookson have as yet responded to today’s news, but the UCI’s refusal to consider outside assessment means that the uncertainty and unease about the situation will drag on.

While those federations could initiate their own CAS action, it was necessary for both sides to agree to an expedited decision if it were to arrive before the September 27th vote.

Instead, any ruling on it will now come long after the election, meaning that if McQuaid is elected later this month, his nomination – and therefore his victory – could later be ruled null and void.

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