UCI announces its past will be investigated by new Cycling Independent Reform Commission
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

UCI announces its past will be investigated by new Cycling Independent Reform Commission

by Shane Stokes at 5:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Three commission members finalised and named, goal is to compete work by end of 2014

UCIAlmost a year after the UCI under Pat McQuaid shut down the Independent Commission charged with investigating it, new president Brian Cookson has today announced the composition of a new body which will work on the same task.

Titled the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), it will be chaired by the Swiss politician and former state prosecutor Dick Marty, who has a background in fighting organised crime, drug abuse, investigating alleged CIA secret prisons in Europe and illegal trafficking of human organs from executed prisoners.

He will be joined by German’s Ulrich Haas and Australia’s Peter Nicholson on the three member panel. Haas is a professor of Civil Procedure and Civil Law at the University of Zurich and an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He was involved in a number of past CAS cases relating to cycling, including Alberto Contador’s Clenbuterol hearing, Riccardo Ricco’s unsuccessful appeal against his twelve year ban and the successful appeal by Contador and Alejandro Valverde against the UCI’s stripping of their points.

Nicholson is a former military officer who specialises in criminal investigations in both national and international jurisdictions. His background includes work for various governments and the United Nations, where he led several war crimes investigations.

The Commission members will be assisted, and the CIRC coordinated, by project director Aurélie Merle, who has a background in sports with the IOC and LOCOG plus investigation and justice work for the UN.

UCI president Brian Cookson said that the commission would have a crucial task to play. “This Commission will investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years, especially the allegations that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past – allegations which have done so much to hurt the credibility of the UCI and our sport.

“Their work will also be focused on understanding what went so wrong in our sport and they will make recommendations for change so that as far as possible those mistakes are not repeated.”

He added that the title the Cycling Independent Reform Commission was intended to recognise “the scope of their task, and to emphasise that, as a sport, we need to gain a positive outcome from its work.”

UCI investigation Mark II:

The UCI originally set up an Independent Commission over one year ago, with then-president Pat McQuaid promising that it would be able to fully investigate the UCI’s handling of anti-doping in the past. This would encompass the claims made in relation to the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service case, specifically that the UCI either aided or turned a blind eye to his doping.

However the UCI subsequently shut down the commission in January of last year. McQuaid and others sought to blame USADA and WADA, saying that they were not cooperating.

Both agencies said that the UCI had refused to permit an amnesty to protect witnesses, something the Commission itself said was necessary to encourage witnesses to speak out.

The matter became an election issue for both candidates. In his manifesto prior to the election, Cookson pledged to establish a new investigation, as did McQuaid.

Minutes after the Briton successfully defeated McQuaid on September 27th, investigators entered the UCI building in Aigle and locked down data and documents. These reportedly included files from McQuaid’s own computer system, although he denied that his personal laptop was seized.

Last month Cookson told Marca that the UCI was ‘very close’ to reaching an agreement with the commission members. However he said that he didn’t want to pre-empt anything at that time. Earlier this week UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille told VeloNation that an announcement about the commission was imminent.

Initial work already underway:

Cookson said that the commission has already begun preparatory work and would soon be given complete access to the UCI’s files plus the electronic data collected by the Kroll company on the day of his election.

“It will also be seeking testimony from people involved in the sport or who have been involved in the past and we are in the final stages of discussions with WADA to agree how best to incentivise people to co-operate with the Independent Commission,” he stated.

‘’We have agreed a budget for the Commission, which the UCI will cover in full, and we have also expressed our wish that its work be concluded this year. Other than that, the Independent Commission based in Lausanne will operate completely independently of the UCI and will organise its work as it chooses. The Commission's terms of reference will explicitly state that the Commission will act autonomously and that its members will not receive any instruction from the UCI.

"Other work well underway includes the audit of the UCI's current anti-doping activities by iNADO who are using top staff from the anti-doping organisations of Finland and Norway for this work which will conclude at the end of the month. This is completely distinct from the work of the Independent Commission and is focussed on assuring that our current operations are as good as they can be.”

Cookson said prior to his election that he would work to ensure a completely independent anti-doping body to oversee the sport, thus removing any suggestion that the UCI could interfere with policing the sport.

He said today that he and others would change the way the UCI works in order to make it a more transparent, trustable and modern organisation.

“My vision is simple, I want us to be the best international federation in the world, a federation that merits its beautiful and enduring sport, and I want our sport to be one in which everyone – fans, participants, media, sponsors, governments – can have the utmost trust and confidence.”

That confidence is likely to be enhanced when the CIRC conducts its full investigation into what happened in the past and reaches conclusions. More details are expected to emerge over time.


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