Cycling Australia reacts to Matt White's doping confession
Meeting this week won't have full picture, but likely to discuss thoughts over doping amnesty and criminalisation
Cycling Australia has confirmed that its board will meet later this week to consider what action to take following yesterday’s admission by Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White that he doped while riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service team. White rode for the team from 2001 to 2003 and for Discovery Channel, as it was renamed, in 2006 and 2007.
White made his admission in the wake of the United States Anti Doping Agency’s publication last week of its reasoned decision in the Armstrong case and immediately stepped down from his role with Orica-GreenEdge, as well as his position as Professional Men's Road Coordinator at Cycling Australia.
"In light of the admissions by Matt, the board will meet this week to discuss what options are available to us and to determine what action should be taken," commented Cycling Australia President, Klaus Mueller, in a statement issued today.
"We recognise that both ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) and the UCI (International Cycling Union) have people poring over the decision and supporting documents released this week by the US Anti-Doping Agency in relation to this case and we will certainly consider any advice we receive from them as part of our discussions."
Mueller acknowledged that it would be difficult for the governing body to have access to all the relevant information relating to White by the time it meets this week, but confirmed that the board would be discussing possible short-term measures that it takes.
"We will also look at the processes we have in place in relation to the appointment of staff to positions within the organisation. Are we asking the questions we should be in light of this week's revelations and if not then we need to make sure in future we do."
Mueller has called for an amnesty to be put in place to allow those involved in the sport with a connection to doping to come forward and make a full disclosure of their past, with potentially reduced penalties for those who do, and would also like to see the issue addressed of whether some matters related to doping should be criminalised in Australia, as they are in certain other jurisdictions.
"I think it's time all these ideas were put back on the table for discussion, not just in relation to cycling, but across the wider sporting landscape,” he reflected.
"Our members and fans have every right to feel disillusioned and angry and I share that disappointment. However our priority now must be to work with the thousands of cyclists and fans to safeguard the future of this sport for the vast majority who have done nothing wrong and who deserve our support."
In May 2010, the UCI aked Cycling Australia to investigate White in connection with allegations made by Floyd Landis against him and others relating to alleged doping at US Postal and elsewhere.
In a statement released at the time, the UCI confirmed that it had "requested the relevant National Federations to carry out inquiries into the accusations made by Mr Floyd Landis against their licence-holders, namely Cycling Australia (Matthew White), Royal Belgian Cycling League (Johan Bruyneel), Canadian Cycling Association (Michael Barry) and the French Cycling Federation (John Lelangue).
"An inquiry has also already been opened by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) concerning all the other individuals accused by Mr Landis as these persons have US nationality (Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Jim Ochowicz and David Zabriskie).
"The UCI's request is aimed at establishing, in an objective manner, whether or not events potentially constituting a breach of the Anti-Doping Rules occurred. This does not in any way imply that the UCI considers the allegations made by Mr Landis to have any basis," it added.
Among those named in that statement, Barry, Hincapie, Landis, Leipheimer and Zabriskie were among those who provided affidavits to USADA in the Armtrong case.