The UCI has announced the names of the three men who will form what it is calling a Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) that will investigate doping in cycling, including addressing allegations of wrongdoing within the governing body itself – one of Brian Cookson’s key manifesto pledges ahead of his election as UCI president last September.
The members of the CIRC, all three of them heavyweights in their respective fields, bring with them a wealth of experience that combines dealing with doping in sport as well as investigation into such sensitve areas as war crimes, genocide and allegations of secret CIA prisons in Europe, among other issues.
Headed by Swiss politician Dick Marty, the CIRC will also have two vice-chairmen, Ulrich Haas, a German legal academic specialising in anti-doping law and procedure and an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the Australian Peter Nicholson, who has experience of leading investigations spanning national and international jurisdictions.
The panel will be assisted in its work by project director Aurélie Merle, who has previously worked within sports for the International Olympic Committee and LOCOG, as well as undertaking investigative and legal work on behalf of the United Nations.
UCI president Cookson said: “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.”
In January last year, the Independent Commission appointed by Cookson’s predecessor, Pat McQuaid, was dissolved by the UCI amid farcical scenes as it met in London to begin its work.
Putting a similar body of inquiry, independent of the UCI, in place was one of the central pillars of Cookson’s manifesto, and he said today that the CIRC’s name had been chosen “in recognition of the scope of their task, and to emphasise that, as a sport, we need to gain a positive outcome from its work.”
He added: “The Independent Commission has already started preparatory work and will soon be given complete access to the files of the UCI and all the electronic data which was copied as soon as I was elected.
“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.
“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 focused on assuring that our current operations are as good as they can be.
"In other ways the progress will be more subtle as we change the way the UCI works to make it a more transparent and modern organisation, one which people trust. “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,” he added.
CIRC member biographies (provided by the UCI)
Mr. Marty is a well-known political figure both in Switzerland (as a member of the Parliament) and in Europe (as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe). He holds a doctorate in law from the University of Neuchâtel. In 1975, Marty was nominated state prosecutor of Ticino, in which post he was specially noted for his energetic activities fighting organised crime and drug abuse. In 1987 he received an Award of Honor of the United States Department of Justice and a special award of honor by the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association. In 2005, Marty was appointed to lead an investigation by the Council of Europe into alleged illegal CIA secret prisons in Europe. On 14 December 2010, the Council of Europe entrusted Marty with investigating alleged inhuman treatment of people and killing of prisoners with the purpose of removal and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo, involving politicians currently in power.
Mr. Haas, a German national specialised in anti-doping rules and procedures has been Professor of Civil Procedure and Civil Law at the University of Zurich since January 2008. He studied law at the Universities of Regensburg and Lausanne, and after obtaining his Ph.D. and qualification as a university lecturer at the University of Regensburg, he became a professor at Martin Luther University in Halle and subsequently at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Mr. Haas' work and research has been concentrated on international civil procedure (including arbitration), company insolvency law and sports law. He is the editor of numerous publications in these areas and has worked for many years as a consultant and arbitrator. He is a highly respected arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Deutsches Sportschiedsgericht and the Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit eV (DIS).
Mr. Nicholson LLM MBA is an Australian national, a former Army officer, and since then a specialist in criminal investigations. He has extensive experience as a senior investigator and analyst in both national and international jurisdictions. Mr. Nicholson was recently advising varying levels of government in Afghanistan on ministerial strategic leadership and policy development of the police forces, and on matters of governance in part to counter corruption, fraud and intimidation. Beforehand he advised the government of Pakistan on policy development in counter-terrorism issues. He was a United Nations Independent Commission Chief of Investigations in Lebanon investigating terrorism cases, and investigated crimes for the International Criminal Court in Uganda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was a team Leader at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and an investigator on the Srebrenica genocide case and others.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.