Cycling - 10 Sep 2013 - Pat McQuaid, the Irish cycling official who is seeking a second term as president of the UCI, has vehemently denied allegations of corruption at the sport’s international governing body outlined in a leaked document, describing them as “a complete fabrication.”
The three-page document, which includes accusations against McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen relating to past doping cases involving top riders Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, was published yesterday on the VeloNews website.
It forms part of a dossier said to have been compiled by Igor Makarov, the president of the Russian cycling federation, and circulated by Mike Plant, the former USA Cycling president and a member of the UCI Management Committee, at a meeting of that committee in Bergen, Norway, in June.
In a statement, McQuaid, who is presently attending the International Olympic Committee Session in Buenos Aires, said: “The claims in this so-called dossier are a complete fabrication. They are totally untrue and are not supported by a scintilla of evidence.
“This is a scurrilous and libellous attack on my character, with a political agenda that is both nakedly transparent and totally contemptible – and unfortunately one that is completely in character with the tactics of my opponents.”
McQuaid is competing against Brian Cookson, the president of British Cycling, to remain at the helm of the UCI, with the election scheduled to take place in Florence, Italy on September 27.
However, there has been heated debate over whether McQuaid should be allowed to stand in the election as he has failed to secure the nomination of Cycling Ireland, the federation of his home country, or Swiss Cycling, the federation of the country in which he now lives, in an apparent contradiction of the UCI constitution.
Referring to the contents of the dossier, McQuaid said: “The UCI Ethics Commission have already tried to investigate the matter. The Ethics Commission asked for a copy of the dossier from Igor Makarov and Mike Plant, but both of them refused to hand it over to the Ethics Commission. That fact alone speaks volumes.”
However, Cookson believes that the claims are worthy of further scrutiny, saying: “These allegations, which appear to be similar to those made to the UCI Management Committee in June, are clearly very serious. For the good of the UCI and cycling, they should be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the relevant authorities. I hope that this matter can be fully resolved before the UCI Congress on 27 September.
“For my part, I remain totally committed to a democratic election under the Constitution of the UCI and will continue to talk and listen to national federations and voting delegates on how, together, we can grow cycling globally and restore faith and trust in our sport.”
Last Friday, the UCI announced that its executive board had rejected a request from several national federations to bring in the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on a contentious point in the UCI’s constitution that could prevent McQuaid from standing for re-election.
USA Cycling, supported by the federations of Russia, Finland, Algeria and Canada, had wanted CAS to issue an interpretation of Article 51.1 in the UCI’s constitution, which says that presidential candidates must be supported by a nomination from “the federation of the candidate.”
However, the executive board concluded that the matter could only be addressed by the UCI Congress, which will do so prior to this month’s election.
McQuaid has argued that he could legitimately be nominated by any of the seven federations of which he has membership, and is in fact relying on nominations from two of those federations, namely the Thai Cycling Association and the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Cyclisme.
McQuaid has come under sustained attack for a perceived attempt to change the election rules mid-way through the process to allow candidates to be nominated by any two national federations. However, he has insisted that the proposal, which is due to face a vote at the Congress, comes not from him but from the Malaysian cycling federation and the Asian Continental Confederation.
Meanwhile, the IOC has said that Armstrong has yet to send back the bronze medal he won at the Sydney 2000 Olympics despite being disqualified for a doping offence.
The IOC ordered the return of the time trial medal after the US rider admitted to the use of performance-enhancing drugs during that period in his career.
Armstrong has already been stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005 after his doping confession.
Speaking in Buenos Aires, IOC vice-president Thomas Bach, who also heads the organisation’s judicial commission, said: “We still do not have the medal back. We will continue to work with the United States Olympic Committee to get this medal back as requested in our decision.”